Friday, January 11, 2008

Saved by Grace and Perfected by Grace

Saved by Grace and Perfected by Grace

I have not heard any questions recently that I have jumped out of my skin to answer, so I thought I would take a few minutes and talk about one of my favorite aspects of the true gospel: the effect grace has on our mortal lives and not just the saving portion (Though that is monumental).

I have been blessed/cursed to be extremely practical. One reason the Church was so appealing to me before, during, and after my conversion was how applicable it is teachings are in modern life. Our prophet and general authorities constantly give us inspired guidance (as given to them by the Lord) about how to not only reach our eternal goals, but to improve our day-to-day lives also.

I love the gift of agency. I am so grateful that I have the God given right to make of my life what I want it to be with his help. “His help” is what I want to focus on. Grace is a subject I have spent much time studying. I in no way claim to be the authority on it, but I think I have a slight grasp on a few of it’s intrinsic meanings.

Grace comes from the Greek “charis” (khar’-ece) ad has many definitions. A few that stand out to me in relation to this topic are graciousness, benefit, favour, and gift.
The LDS Bible Dictionary at one point defines grace as an “enabling power.” In context this definition was given in respect to the saving power of grace at the judgment, but I believe it is equally applicable as the enabling power in our everyday lives.

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” –Phil 4:13

“I know that I can do nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things.” –Alma 26:12

“With God all things are possible.” –Matt 19:26

No matter which way we slice it, that fact is that Jesus Christ said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” –John 14:15 He also commanded “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matt 5:48). Perfect in this verse comes from the Greek “teleios” (tel’-i-os), which means “complete (in various applications of labor, growth, ment[ality], and mor[al] character, etc….” –Strong’s Concordance, pg. 90

I interpret all my study to show that the effect of grace in this life is not just helping us to get through the daily grind, but to constantly improve. Every day I want to be better than the previous day. I want to be a more “complete” person. The more I seek to learn of Jesus Christ, follow his teachings (and learn more about him through that process –John 7:17), and become like him, the more He enables me to do so through his grace. Every gift that he imparts is part of his grace.

I believe that those who feel grace is only applied at the judgment to save us, or that when we accept the savior and his grace we don’t need to do anything else are missing out on one the greatest blessings of this life: the joys of improving oneself everyday through the grace of God and being able to reflect and see how far we have come.

Best Wishes,

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