Friday, November 06, 2009

Sanctifying Ordinances and Gifts of Grace

All of us have accepted Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ and our personal Savior. All of us were sinful, fallen and lost and we were "rescued/saved" by the condescension of God who turned us from our path leading straight to death and hell. Thus, all of us are immediately justified and saved from Hell/Gehenna/Blackness of Darkness Forever. God made the first move, and only by His grace and mercy alone were we "rescued" and not by anything we did.

Now that we have been "rescued" and "justified" and "saved", Christ's righteousness is imputed to us, and we can enjoy the "indwelling" of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost, we begin the process of grace-empowered sanctification.

1 Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: [up unto salvation].

However, in spite of our acceptance of Christ, and in spite of the "indwelling" of the Holy Ghost, we still sin. How could sin still be possible? Isn't Christ and the Holy Ghost more powerful than the flesh? Why the battle?

Galatians 5:17: "For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish."

The issue here is not that the Holy Ghost and Christ cannot overcome our flesh, but that sanctification is a process, and as we become more committed to Christ, and our faith in Christ increases, the light and power and grace and influence and indwelling of the Holy Ghost will increase. And by the increased empowerment of the Holy Ghost, we will be increasingly strengthened against sin, purified like silver, etc.

LDS attitude about "works" and ordinances, and covenants is not these produce salvation, but that they are gifts of God which refocus and orrient our lives better towards Christ. The problem is that man forgets, so LDS consider proper daily prayer, scripture study, partaking of the Lords Supper, baptism, and the temple a great way to remember and refocus our lives on Jesus Christ.

Therefore, LDS "works" are not about saving ourselves. And although some call them "saving ordinances." These works are really "sanctifying gifts of grace" that we are invited to receive. And by these "sanctifying gifts of grace" we are promised and hope we can better remember, refocus, and re-orient our lives toward Christ, and receive by grace a more powerful "indwelling/measure" of the Holy Ghost which will empower greater good works, sin protection, and sanctification.

Moro 10:30 And again I would exhort you that ye would come unto Christ, and lay hold upon every good gift,

What is the importance to bother with the process of sanctification? LDS believe that the better we progress in the process of sanctification here in this life, and the greater degree of the Holy Ghost/light/grace we accept/receive, the better gift/crown/kingdom/glory/seat we will be given in Heaven.

(1 Thessalonians 5:23) (1 Peter 1:15) (1 Thessalonians 4:3,7) (2 Corinthians 7:1) (2 Timothy 2:20) (Matthew 5:48) (Romans 6:19-22) (2 Thessalonians 2:13) (1 Corinthians 6:11) (2 Corinthians 3:18) (1 Peter 1:2) (Romans 8:13) (Ephesians 5:25) (1 Peter 1:22)

1 comment:

Greg said...

A beautiful post on this subject. It is a process - no wonder the apostles went to the temple continually in anticipation of the fulfillment of that promise (Gift of the Holy Ghost a Higher Endowment).