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Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

*Grace & Faith & Works

There is a belief that we are saved by grace.
The age old argument goes like this. Someone says, “You are saved by grace, through faith, not by works.”
Then someone else brings up, “Faith without works is Dead.”

The Problem People have with the LDS teaching on Exaltation is that they think the term “Exaltation” and “Salvation” are interchangeable.
To be more accurate Exaltation goes beyond what could be called “Salvation.” We are going to get into semantics here about what “salvation” is.
“Salvation” as most people see it is simplified as, going to Heaven after you die. Some would argue that this is an option for us all. Others that only those chosen by God will have “salvation”. It all depends on what your definition of Salvation is.
From what I understand “Salvation” is being redeemed by the atonement of Jesus Christ. According to my religion, Jesus Christ Suffered and Died for the Sins of the World, he paid the debt we all owe. All we need to be “saved” or go to “Heaven” is to believe in Jesus Christ, right?

Let’s take a closer look at this.

If someone would have faith in Christ, would they not do all they could to follow his example? This is their Faith working in their lives. When we believe and apply faith to our lives we change and want to do better, be better. We release our focus on the desires of the self and we have concern for others. We have a desire to do right and so we, as Christians, follow Christ. This is the works spoken of that makes Faith alive.

If that person died before baptism or before they could possibly show forth their Faith by “Works”, are they saved? I say, “Yes they are!” and what I have learned in the LDS church supports this because it is all about how I see the term “Save” “Saved” and “Salvation.”

Now if that person had the time, ability and Opportunity to show forth works of their faith (follow Christ) but choose not to, do they truly have Faith in Christ?
For Example, (The Holy Bible; New Testament, Mathew 19, Mark 10, Luke 18) the rich man who asked Jesus how he could enter the Kingdom of Heaven (seems to have faith in Christ for that is who he approached and asked this question) but did not do as Christ said in his answer (not follow Christ). Is his faith sufficient to “Save” him?
Or shall I ask, did he truly have Faith in Christ?

Here is a simplified version of the Saved by Grace issue (I doubt that many other “Mormon’s” would give it to you this way, so I will be direct and to the point.)
We are “saved” by the grace of Christ (Grace)! We choose to accept this “Salvation” when we have Faith in him (Faith). If we truly have Faith in Christ we will “do all we can” to follow his Teachings and example (Works).

So now we see that both ideas are correct. The evangelical community is correct that it is by the grace of God that we are “Saved”. The LDS are correct in that it also takes Faith in Christ for us to accept the gift of our “Salvation” and when we have Faith, we would do all we can to follow Christ, this is considered “Works”.

 If you boil away at the Gospel and cut it as deep as you can to get to the center core of it you will only see: that it is by the grace of God that we are “Saved.” I tend to agree with this point but feel the need to include that when we accept that Jesus Christ Died for our sins and we are “saved by grace,” we put our Faith in Him to accept his gift, and if we have faith in Christ it changes our lives and we want to follow him, so if we can, we do!
Will God Force “Salvation” on those who chose not to take it? No, A just God, a Righteous and loving God would not force this on those who choose not to accept it. “Salvation” is a Gift, You do not have to accept it but it has been purchased and is given, it is up to you to choose to accept or reject it.

Will God “save” those who do not accept Jesus Christ’s sacrifice? Some will need to learn of the Gospel before they can choose, but those who choose to reject Jesus Christ and his sacrifice will unfortunately not partake in the glory of God.
 
Will God allow anyone to choose to accept “salvation” that was made for them? Yes, of course. There are infamous and nefarious people who you may pick out of history ( Hitler, Charles Manson, ect.)  and ask me will he be saved?  It does go to reason that these people will reject the sacrifice made for them and thus give up their “Salvation.”  However it is not my place to judge these people, I do not know their hearts like God does and it is between God and them to sort it out.
So does “Salvation” come about by grace alone? Not really. Though Grace is the first principal that has to be met, it is not the end of this topic. Is “Salvation” by Grace and Faith? Yes it is, Grace of God and Our Faith in Jesus Christ. But I shall remind you, Faith without works is dead. If the man had real Faith he would have hurried to give his earthly treasure to the poor and needy. Without that his faith died and thus he could not partake of the grace of God.
So it goes to show that it is by the Grace of God that we are “Saved” but it also takes Faith, and Works come about as a fruit of that faith.
Where do some disagree with this concept? By focusing only on the first part of it.

Here is an analogy of the discourse between LDS Christians and Evangelical Christians about “Salvation.”
Have you ever made cookies?
It takes several ingredients some depend on the type of cookie you make, but there is a core set of ingredients, Flower eggs butter and sugar.
There is agreement on the gospel like saying it takes flower to make cookies, and there is sugar in them too. (Grace & Faith). But when there is a suggestion that there are eggs and butter too, some say,” No, it is Flower and Sugar, that make them cookies. The eggs and butter are not necessary.” I’d like to use all the ingredients to make Cookies and when dealing with my salvation I like to remind myself that Works are the fruit of Faith, this encourages me to do better daily.

I submit to you that these differing points of view are nothing more. Different point of view on the same text, a different understanding if you will.

 

For more information on the LDS teaching that there are differing degrees of glory that we partake in the after-life. Ask a Later-Day Saint about the Plan of Exaltation also known as the Plan of Happiness. You can also go to the website http://www.mormon.org to learn more about this.

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