Graceland Reunion Class Summary:  Grace and Works'


The following paper was presented at the end of the two-day class on Grace and Works during the family missionary reunion 2003 at Graceland University.  It is to be used with other handouts

The world has become confused regarding the clear message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Titus explains that the real definition of 'grace' was God's choice to come among us and die for the sins of man--that was the 'graceful' part--that God didn't have to do it.  Salvation, i.e. the opportunity for mankind to return to God's presence, could not have happened without this eternal sacrifice.  It was not by our righteousness or works that caused God to make this choice.  However, the generic Christian world's confusion has contrived a false doctrine extrapolated from this message:  They then say '....I'm saved by God's grace, and there is nothing I have to do....".   False.  Jesus' entire message was that we would be judged by our works.  If our 'works' indicate our repentance, and we desired to change from our carnal ways, then is Jesus atonement sufficient for us. 

Moroni 10:29 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 no wise deny the power of God.

The other major confusion is Paul's New Testament discussion of works.  The handouts regarding the Law of Moses in the Book of Mormon and New Testament  put in perspective the Nephite/Jewish problems and perspectives on the Law of Moses.  Understanding this issue of their day is fundamental to see why Paul wrote (To the Jews) so often about ‘The Law’ (greek=’Nomos’ i.e. Law of Moses).  The problem with our 21st century rendering of the New Testament is that any time we read an epistle, we are literally 'reading someone else's mail.'  We have to know the context of the discussion to appreciate and correctly apply message of the conversation. 

Paul's references to 'works' were not what the modern world glibly assumes—the modern assertion is that Paul was saying: 'there is nothing you have to do to be don't matter…anything beyond faith is a work..'  Not the case.  Paul was telling Jews, who, for 1500 years, had had to follow the works of the Mosaic Law, that 'The Law' (i.e. the Law of Moses) was now fulfilled.  This meant that it was not necessary to slaughter lambs, etc., anymore, because the ultimate sacrifice, the whole point of the Law of Moses, had now taken place.  The Law of Moses was a type and shadow leading up to  Jesus Christ' sacrifice. (see Alma 16, 214, 2 Nephi 11:45).  After Jesus' death, the law was finished.  Jews had a hard time with this—often leading to Paul’s (and the others) frequent persecution and torture. 

The same Paul who warned the Galatians against works (of the Law of Moses) stated to them that only those baptized unto Christ (a ‘work’, by the modernist’s definition), had ‘put on’ Christ.  The works of the Mosaic Law and the works requested by Jesus Christ had no relation to each other, and Paul never confused these in his writings.  Paul never said that we didn't have to repent and keep the commandments of Jesus.  Herein is where the world is confused. 

The world has many mixed messages about grace and works; the gospel only has one:

2 Nephi 11:44 For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

Our repentance alone, without the sacrifice of Jesus Christ would never have been enough to satisfy the requirement of sin’s punishment (Alma 19:94); indeed, it is only by God’s saving Grace that we have hope of salvation.

Our Work is to respond to the commandments of Jesus Christ.  It is by these works that we will be judged.  If our works prove our life was one of repentance and service, then will his atoning blood be applied.  Only for those incapable of repentance is His atoning blood applied otherwise.

It wasn’t a lack of faith that expelled Adam and Eve from Eden and consigned mankind to spiritual separation from God; indeed, it was willful rebellion against the commandments of God. 

After all, it is not as if Adam and Eve stopped ‘believing’ in God--they consciously chose to put their ideas, their mind and will, above God’s.  (Satan had this same problem). 

Consequently, it is not merely needing to ‘believe that God exists’ (which is some Christians’ definition of ‘faith’) which will cause our return to God’s presence; rather it is our rendering of our self-will unto God’s will, turning from our inward lusts to outward love for Him. 

This is repentance, our requirement. With it, the atoning blood of Jesus, because of His Grace on our behalf, will be applied unto our eternal life.