Monday, April 07, 2008

Saved by Grace Alone

I am happy to agree with our Evangelical friends that it is by the grace alone of Jesus Christ that men are saved. So, what of works? Man can do nothing good of himself. Therefore, good works are a manifestation of the reception of the Holy Ghost within us. Without the justification of the blood of Christ's atonement, God's Spirit could not dwell in us (unholy temples), and the process of purification could not occur. Without the Holy Ghost, we would be left subject to the temptations of Satan and his angels and the carnal appetites of our body.

However, we can accept Christ, and receive the Holy Ghost and learn to ignore the temptations of Satan and learn to ignore and control the appetites of the flesh. Although, there will be no Satan in heaven. After the resurrection, we will have our bodies. And hopefully we, through the grace of Christ and purification of the Holy Ghost, will have learned to master our bodies such that we will be comfortable to dwell in the presence of God; because we will be like him (1 Jn. 3: 2, Rev. 3: 21). The Holy Ghost also leads us to read our scriptures, attend church, be baptized, and to make other covenants with God which are all designed to perfect, sanctify, and unify the believer.

While it is easy to accept Christ's atonement. It is just as easy to reject Him. Every time we sin or fail to hearken to the Holy Ghost, we reject Christ and turn away from him. So, we must then exercise faith, confess and repent of our sins, and turn again to receive Christ. Then we are justified by the blood of His sacrifice such that the Holy Ghost can enter into us and we can continue on in the process of sanctification. If we continue in this process to the end of our lives, and endure to the end, then is His grace sufficient for us.

Even before a believer receives the gift of the Holy Ghost, or the baptism by fire, and is spiritually born again, becoming a new creature, with no more disposition to do evil but to do good continually; man is given the light of Christ which inspires men to do good and leads them to the greater light of the Holy Ghost. Without the grace of God manifest though the light of Christ and His Holy Spirit, no man could do good of himself. So, God makes the first move in drawing near to us and His spirit comes "unto" our hearts but not "into" our hearts because there is no coercion with God. Christ says, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." (Rev. 3: 20).

Lehi teaches in the Book of Mormon that men could not be free to choose unless they were enticed by one side or the other. That is, without the light of Christ, and the Holy Ghost, man would only be influenced by the instincts and appetites of his body and the temptations of Satan. The Book of Mormon says that without the atonement and grace of Christ, man would be doomed to become a devil, an angel to the Devil forever (2 Ne. 9: 8-9, 16).

However, good works are a manifestation that a person has been washed clean and justified by the blood of Christ, and is somewhere on the path of sanctification even if they are not a verbally professing Christian yet. That person is professing Christ through his actions. But, King Benjamin asks his people to examine their hearts to see if they feel that they have been sufficiently stripped of pride and filled with the love of Christ, and "can ye feel so now" (Alma 5: 9, 26).

Many have entered into this process without even consciously confessing Christ. The Bible teaches that those who live by truth accept Christ who is the author of all truth (Gal. 3: 6). And although, because of tradition and upbringing and opportunity, do not consciously acknowledge Christ, they spiritually accept Christ which is manifest by their good works. Christ atonement covers those sins done in ignorance and men will be judged according to the degree of light and knowledge with they have received. The Bible foretells that one day every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ (Rom. 14: 11).

That said, those who have been justified by the blood of Christ, and received the baptism of fire, or the gift of the Holy Ghost, and been spiritually born again will be led to make covenants with God which were established by God for the purification and unification of his church and people. God's people are a covenant people, and scripture, his church, and the ordinances of the gospel are necessary for sanctification. Covenants such as baptism, receiving the oath and covenant of the priesthood, and temple covenants including eternal marriage not only prepare and help sanctify a person to dwell in the presence of God, but they prepare a person for exaltation. To reject the Holy Ghost which leads us to read the scriptures, attend church, and enter into covenants with God would be to reject Christ. We then would need to exercise our faith in Christ, confess our sins, repent by entering into a covenant relationship with God and accept Christ anew.


Anonymous said...

People can "spritually" accept Christ without even being conscious of it? where are you getting that?

Secondly, you do not agree with me that you are saved by grace alone becuase you give both "grace" and "saved" a completely different meaning that I do.

Thirdly, you believe in a different Jesus than I do and that the Bible teaches.

"And virtually all the millions of apostate Christendom hae abased themselves before the mythical throne of a mythical Christ" - Apostle Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 269"

Fourthly, you give justification a different meaning than I do.

Fifthly, ...."love seeks not its own" do you reconcile that with all you Mormons who want to be "exalted". God said he would not give his glory to another. Maybe you all need to take a better look at Jesus and the Father and the Spirit and see why they're worthy of worship instead of waiting on the day that you will be worshiped.

BRoz said...

I got this from a evangelical scholar who was interpreting Romans 4:3-6. I believe this the standard interpretion of these verses. Else, one would have to believe that a non-Christian could not receive God's love or grace and therefore not perform any good works. The Book of Mormon teaches that the light of Christ is given to all men and can inspire anyone to do good.

You do not believe that exaltation is possible so what does it matter to you. But even salvation from spiritual and physical death and exaltation (whatever the definition of Eternal Life) is only possible by the grace alone of Christ.

So, why do LDS baptize, and enter into other covenants with God? Because the Holy Ghost leads us to follow Christ and enter into them as part of the process of sanctification. None of which would have any effect without the blood of Jesus Christ.

The Holy Ghost also leads us to read the scriptures and attend church. Scriptures and church as well as covenants and ordinances were given to assist in the perfecting and unification of the Saints. Reading the scriptures and going to church don't save someone, only Christ saves. But after accepting Christ and being justified by his sacrifice, the Holy Ghost leads us to read, and to worship, and to covenant.

If we reject the Holy Ghost, then we reject Christ. Just because we have accepted Christ once, doesnt mean we cannot reject him afterwards. That is why the scriptures call us to endure to the end and to finish the course and keep the faith so we do not fall from grace.

McConkie's Mormon Doctrine does not represent offical LDS Doctrine any more than this blog does. I am sure that I could dig up many biggoted statements from evangelicals concerning the Mormons.

(Rev. 3: 21) To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

Doesn't the promise of Eternal Life add to the many reasons that God deserves to be praised.

Anonymous said...

It's kind of wired to not see a picture tortured Jesus but rather a beautiful picture of him praying. Don't Mormons even know where the atoning sacrifice took place?