Tuesday, June 24, 2008

After All We Can Do? Part 2

Nephi says he saved by grace after all they can do in reference to why they bothered keeping the law of Moses knowing full well that it did not save but Christ saves by grace alone. But Nephi said after all he could do meaning they kept the law of Moses even though it was dead to them until the time works would be done away.

2 Nephi 22:23-27
23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do. 24 And, notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled. 25 For, for this end was the law given; wherefore the law hath become dead unto us, and we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments. 26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. 27 Wherefore, we speak concerning the law that our children may know the deadness of the law; and they, by knowing the deadness of the law, may look forward unto that life which is in Christ, and know for what end the law was given. And after the law is fulfilled in Christ, that they need not harden their hearts against him when the law ought to be done away (ie works done away).

The LDS church do not believe that we can contribute one iota to our salvation. God saves us by grace alone. But after salvation, we still need to be sanctified. So, LDS do works like baptism, reading scriptures, everlasting temple covenant, and prayer to better have opportunities to receive Christ's light, grace, spirit, and love and to point us better to Christ and to help us give our whole souls and surrender our whole wills to Him. To this end the spirit, and love of Christ sanctifies us, changes our sin nature, purges us from sin, purifies us like silver, and completely turns us away from sin.

These works are not of man but of God, like the temple was said to have been built of God and not man because God does not dwell in temples made with hands. But God dwelt in Solomons temple. And that is because God inspired and empowered its construction. In the same way the Holy Ghost empowers us to sanctifying works because no unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God. And without the Holy Ghost and the love of Christ in receiving these works they are dead and of no worth. There is no guarantee that if someone is baptized and reads scriptures and prays that they will receive Eternal Life if the Holy Ghost and the Love of Christ is not in them. They are just going through the motions but not allowing the works of God to change them, which is the whole purpose.

Yes, we need to receive all the works of God because they are designed for our sanctification. But we only can receive them by the empowerment of the Holy Ghost. And we must fully receive the Holy Ghost who was sent by Christ. To continue in the Holy Ghost and the grace of Christ you have to continue to choose to follow the Holy Ghost. Christ says that we must receive him who he has sent.

John 13: 20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

Once you accept Christ the Holy Ghost will work within you to empower/persuade/entice you to sanctifying works and changing your sin nature, turning you away from sin, and purifying you like silver by filling you with the love/light/power/spirit/grace of Christ. Christ nor the Holy Ghost will force/coerce you. You still must continue to exercise you free will, and moral agency to choose Christ in every decision. Whereas you had no choice before to choose good, now with the Holy Ghost you now have a choice and can choose rightly.

2 Ne. 2: 16 Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.

LDS know that we could do no good unless Christ enticed us by His spirit to do good. It is impossible to choose good without Christ. He gives us the choice without which there would be no choice but death and hell.

2 Nephi 9:7-9 Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement—save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more. O the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more. And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself;

Christ has bought and paid for your soul and now you must deliver the goods and give God your whole self, surrendering your total will, and deny yourselves of all sin and keep nothing back. You won't be perfect at all at this, and the Holy Ghost will remain with you either persuading you by power or by guilt. The Holy Ghost has operation in you not on your merits but the merits of Christ imputed to you by your justification in Him. But we must continue in the path of sanctification and in the grace of Christ to the end. As Paul said, we must finish the course, keep the faith, and endure to the end. Therefore it is possible to fall from grace and loose the spirit. Guilt is still the workings of the spirit. It is when we no longer feel remorse, guilt, or sorrow for sin that the spirit has ceased to strive with us.

Gen. 6:3 And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man

LDS recognize that it is God that empowers to good choices and good works. Accepting Christ is only the first of many good choices we can make. God has given us sanctifying works that the Holy Ghost will empower us to receive. The church like the Holy Ghost is working to entice/empower/persuade us to receive all the sanctifying works of God. If we do not receive them and do not repent I can't say if a person has fallen from grace. That is for God to judge, but eventually every person will have to receive every word that has proceeded forth from the mouth of God.

And we will have the Millennium to complete our path of sanctification. But only those who are on the path already will endure His coming or be resurrected in the first resurrection and be allotted that time to continue in sanctification with Christ. Because no unclean thing can enter into Gods presence after the Millennium when the Earth becomes Celestialized (a sea of glass mingled with fire). Eventually, the grace of Christ will have the power to literally perfect us just as Christ invited us to be perfect as He and His Father are perfect.

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