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
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 saved...works 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
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.