Sunday, November 04, 2012

What is, " All We Can Do?"

LDS do not believe we save ourselves. LDS believe that salvation is in Christ alone. However sometimes LDS leaders use the words "merit" or "earn" with respect to salvation. When The Book of Mormon says we are "saved by grace after all we can do", it does NOT mean that we somehow meet Christ part way on our own? No. Instead, according to Alma 60:21 , we believe we are to receive, apply, and make use of the gifts and grace that Christ has already given us, and by doing so, qualify for more perfecting grace later.

The Book of Mormon teaches, 2 Nephi 25 "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."

What is "All We Can Do?". Captain Moroni answers this question is his letter to Pahoran discussing the 'conditions of deliverance'.

Alma 60:21 "Or do ye suppose that the Lord will still deliver us, while we sit upon our thrones and do not make use of the means which the Lord has provided for us?"

"All we can do" simply means Christ expects us to "receive", "apply", and "make use" of the gifts and grace that Christ has already given us, and by doing so, "qualify" for more perfecting grace later. This is like saying "finish what's on your plate before asking for seconds" or growing from "grace to grace".

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8,9

Yes, justifying grace is offered to all and is unconditional. If it were not so, no one would be rescued as all have sinned. However, after receiving justifying grace, perfecting grace is conditional and is qualified for by consecration (eating your spiritual spinach and leaving a clean plate).

20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. (New Testament, Matthew, Chapter 19)

We should be careful not to confuse unconditional "rescuing grace" or "saving grace" with conditional "perfecting grace".

Moroni 10:32 "Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God."

Moroni 10:32 is talking about the conditions to receive perfecting grace. This is not saying be perfect first, and then Christ will make you perfect later. This is not saying you have to be perfect to become perfect.

Denying all ungodliness goes back to keeping the minimum standard of 1 Cor 5:11. Through the justifying and sanctifying grace of Christ we have already received we are empowered to keep 1 Cor 5:11. If we keep 1 Cor 5:11 through Christ, we will qualify for Christ's perfecting grace in the resurrection. Our bodies will be raised to a Celestial and perfect state.

We know there has to be different states of grace as no one is perfect in mortality. Believers receive justifying grace and sanctifying grace and we hope for conditional perfecting grace in the future.

No, no one is perfect in this life. But through the justifying and sanctifying grace of Christ we can realize a minimum standard. Perfection is our hope in the future resurrection. Paul says not all are raised to the same state in the resurrection:

40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: (New Testament, 1 Corinthians, Chapter 15)

35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: (New Testament, Hebrews, Chapter 11)

LDS hope for a better resurrection.

Christ himself taught this same principle. In Matthew 25:14-30, we read about the parable of the talents. The Lord begins the lesson:
"For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods...."

The Lord gives his servants (us) talents, and then later returns and demands an accounting. Those who have "done all they can do" are received into his kingdom. Those who have done nothing are cast out.

Those who have done "all they can do" are split into groups. Some have brought forth 10-fold, others 50-fold and others 100-fold. Each servant is rewarded accordingly.

No comments: