Notes for my writing

This blog is made up of notes on the gospel as found in the only true and living church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This includes notes that are either excerpts from or ideas for books I either have in draft or may yet write.

Monday, November 2, 2015

The grace of God in the scriptures bears no relation to protestant grace

Yes we are saved by Grace. But we don't have the faintest idea what that means.

One of the adversary's tricks is to offer a false alternative. He makes us think we can only choose either A or B when in reality the right choice is C.

One example of this is the faith or works dichotomy, which can just as well be expressed as the grace or works dichotomy.

The choice is usually portrayed as having a few possible sides: (1) we are saved by grace, or (2) we are saved by works, or (3) we are saved by grace after all the works we can do.

We look at this choice and instantly know the answer is (3) we are saved by grace after all the works we can do. But there is still a lurking false choice here. The deception in this choice is that we are only even asking whether we are saved by grace or by works because we have completely given over to the protestant definition of grace.

And that is the false part of this presentation of alternatives. In each case that grace is mentioned we are giving grace the protestant interpretation of the word. But that isn't what the word grace, as used in the scriptures, means at all. Thus even though we choose the best of the three options, without correcting our notion of what grace is we are still making a false choice. It is like being asked whether you want pancakes with syrup, with butter, or with both, without ever mentioning that the pancakes that are being offered are toxic and will make you sick.

We can have our pancakes with butter and syrup. But we need to make sure we are eating the right pancakes. We are saved by grace after all we can do. But when the scriptures use the word grace they mean something very different than the protestant version that has been adapted by us.

The protestant interpretation of grace varies somewhat from one description to the next. But the basic idea of all of them is that grace is a mechanism that allows us to enjoy benefits from God for our behavior far above and beyond what our actual behavior is. And there is no such mechanism.

D&C 130: 20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—
 21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.

The meaning of this is precisely that there is no such thing as grace in the protestant sense. That isn't what the grace of God means at all. There IS no means by which we can enjoy blessings from God for behavior that is far and beyond our actual behavior. There is no blessing that Christ could earn by his goodness that we can earn for less goodness than what God required from the foundation of the world. The atonement doesn't change what is required. In fact, this revelation was given long after the atonement was performed. But the laws it refers to were formed before the foundation of the world.

Yes, the atonement offers forgiveness. But that forgiveness is only granted on conditions of repentance. It is offered on condition that we have actually stopped doing whatever we are seeking forgiveness for. We do not gain forgiveness for something we are still perpetually doing.

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