Wednesday, August 23, 2017

How to Accept God’s Grace

The notion common to most Christians is that you accept God’s grace by declaring your belief in Him. This comes from Romans 10:9 which says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (KJV)

My understanding of grace is that it is applied by a loving God universally to his children in the form of a full restitution of the physical body after death, a full restitution of broken hearts and (conditional upon repentance) a full restitution of sin.

I believe that in order to accept God’s grace I have to do more than say “I do” but I have to “do what I say.”

What you send out will come back to you

Henry B Eyring put it this way, “The central element of this plan [of salvation] was the promise that Jesus Christ would offer Himself as a sacrifice, to rescue us from sin and death. Our task in that plan is to accept the Savior’s sacrifice by obeying the laws and ordinances of the gospel. You and I accepted this plan. In fact, we rejoiced in it, even though it would mean that we would leave the presence of our Father and forget what we had experienced there [before mortal birth] with Him.”

I have received criticism for my belief that grace is accepted by being obedient. This criticism is even backed by scripture like, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight.” (Rom 3:20) While I understand that works don’t make me perfect, I believe that salvation is qualitative not quantitative.

Let me explain. If salvation were quantitative then 1 would be “saved” and 0 would be “not saved.” Everyone with a 1 is saved. Everyone who confesses Christ is saved. It’s a yes/no question.

The nuances of this life, the fact that good people have bad aspects and bad people have good aspects, makes a quantitative explanation of salvation unfair for everyone. God is just. Therefore, the quantitative approach is flawed, yet easy to sell.

I believe salvation is qualitative and I hope to show you how I think it also makes sense. Here is a scriptural basis for my belief, “He hath given unto you that ye might know good from evil, and he hath given unto you that ye might choose life or death; and ye can do good and be restored unto that which is good, or have that which is good restored unto you; or ye can do evil, and have that which is evil restored unto you.” (Hel 14:31) This gives the idea that choices have consequences and that to the extent that I choose good, I will receive good back in terms of salvation. I didn’t earn my salvation but what I receive is fair.

Repentance is a choice and it is also work. It requires grace even to begin the process and grace to forgive which is often part of repentance. It is a commandment. And, it results in greater light, truth and life as the old, decayed parts of the soul’s beliefs are shed in layers and discarded. I believe repentance is necessary for salvation because we are saved by a being of perfect truth and raised to perfection. Repentance is the necessary step to removing error, false beliefs and imperfections. Some of us repent without even knowing what it is called. You can’t keep the lies and be perfected. It just doesn’t make sense.  Here is a scriptural reference on that, “And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins.” (Alma 11:37)

I do believe in Christ. I also act like I believe and I do so in a way that you can’t miss it. I also have flaws and imperfections. Some are disillusioned by my imperfections. They are real and limiting and very common to humankind. What I do about my sins is repent, little by little, changing bad habits to good ones and bad thoughts to positive ones. These changes won’t save me from the effects of sin. I already experience the limiting effects every day. However, changing from bad to good is worth the effort and God will make it worth more than even I can imagine.


KJV Bible, Romans
Book of Mormon, Alma & Helaman 
Eyring, Henry B. “Gathering the Family of God.” Ensign May 2017.
Image from Wikimedia

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