"Learn of me ... and ye shall find rest unto your souls." - Matthew 11: 29

Salvation, Growing Grace by Grace

“We believe that men and women will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s or Eve’s transgressions. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, through his mercy and Grace, which leads us to obey the laws and principles, and obtain the ordinances of the Gospel.” – Second and Third Articles of Faith

The human race is a race of fallen beings. While Adam and Eve were likely the first people the Lord introduced Himself to, they were not the first people. They are the first parents of our salvation, as through them not only did spiritual death enter the world, but also the Gospel so that through Christ we may repent and return to our Heavenly Parents (2 Nephi 1: 103-116, RAV, or 2: 18-26, OPV). [1]

Sin

“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” – Paul (Romans 3: 22-24)

All mankind has sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. It is not for us to judge others, but to love and accept our neighbors (Matthew 7: 1-5). As long as a person accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and are willing to allow His Grace to grow with them as they reject sin and spiritual death, the Sacraments of Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands will not be rejected to anyone over the age of 8 years.

Grace

“…the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things.” – Jacob (Jacob 3:8 RAV, or 4: 7, OPV)

It is by Grace that we are saved, after all we can do (2 Nephi 11:48, RAV, or 25: 26, OPV). In the past, before the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, “all we could do” meant obedience to the Law of Moses (2 Nephi 11:45, RAV, or 25: 24, OPV). However, with the resurrection of Jesus Christ there are parts of the Law that we no longer follow. These include dietary restrictions, the sacrifice of animals, etc. As to the laws we do follow, the Book of Mormon makes it clear that we can only obey (do Good Works) through Grace (Jacob 3:8, RAV, or 4: 7, OPV).  Rather than seeking to live by a set of strict guidelines, we attempt to follow the Spirit to the best of our ability as we grow, Grace by Grace, in Jesus Christ.

This means:

  1. Accepting Jesus Christ as our personal Savior
  2. Loving the Lord with all of our mind, might and strength
  3. Loving our neighbor as ourselves
  4. Following the promptings of the Spirit

All of the Law and the Prophets rest on these, as we cannot love the Lord if we do not know Jesus Christ, and we cannot love our neighbors until we see them as the Lord sees them – as family (Matthew 22: 35-40). We can only do all of this through our relationship with the Holy Spirit. This doesn’t mean that we no longer have to obey the commandments of God, it means that we must follow the Holy Spirit to know the Lord’s will for us.

Salvation

“…men drink damnation to their own souls except they humble themselves and become as little children, and believe that salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ…” – King Benjamin (Mosiah 3: 18, OP edition)

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Good News that we may be saved, if we but accept Christ’s Grace and be Born Again (John 3: 5-7; Mosiah 11: 187, RAV, or 27: 25-26, OPV). Salvation is a free gift given to all those that accept Jesus, forsake their sins and move forward in Christ. This does not mean we must be perfect in all things, yet we have been asked to be perfect by loving our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 5: 43-48; 3 Nephi 5: 91-92, RAV, or 12: 46-48, OPV). As we grow in Christ, his works are made manifest in us, and through his Grace we are able to obey God’s commandments.

Exaltation

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” – Paul (Romans 8: 16-17)

Exaltation is what those of us that have been saved strive for. In God’s house there are many mansions, the first shall be last and the last shall be first in His Kingdom (John 14: 3, Matthew 20: 16). While every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ, we shall still be judged and given bodies of glory (Philippians 2: 20-11, 1 Corinthians 15: 40-43). These bodies will reflect our growth in the Lord’s Grace (Doctrine and Covenants 76, CoC & LDS editions). The Lord perfects us as we grow in Grace, and the more converted we become the greater His works through us will be. Once fully matured in Grace, we join the Church of the First Born and receive the Second Comforter, even Jesus Christ, with an apostolic witness of him (Hebrews 12: 23; Doctrine and Covenants 76: 5e, CoC edition/76: 54 LDS edition; 85: 2a-c, CoC edition/88: 4-7 LDS edition; 90: COC edition/93: 4a CoC edition/21-22, LDS edition).

It is the goal of Christian fellowship to help one another grow in Christ until we have received the second comforter, not only gaining salvation but exaltation- having our callings and elections made sure.

 

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