Commandment-keeping and God’s Grace

My October, 2006 edition of Ensign just arrived. I wish more of my Christian friends who think Mormonism is abandoning its heretical past would take closer notice of what the LDS Church is still teaching; for instance, in an article titled “Plain and Precious Truths Restored.” On page 53, Clyde Williams, BYU assistant professor of Ancient Scripture, emphasizes the importance of commandment-keeping if a person hopes to achieve God’s grace.

Elder B.H. Roberts of the Seventy (1857-1933) explained how the unconditional nature of the Atonement in regard to Adam’s transgression and its conditional nature regarding men’s personal sins is a doctrine “peculiar to ‘Mormonism’…and is derived almost wholly from the teachings of the Book of Mormon. In that distinction the beauty and glory of the Atonement, the balanced claims of justice and mercy shine forth as no where else, even in holy writ, — much less in the uninspired writings of men. It may be regarded as the ‘Mormon’ contribution to views of the Atonement of Christ, for it is to be found no where else except in Mormon literature.” The perfect relationship between the atoning grace of Christ and the obedient efforts of mankind is powerfully stated by Nephi: “We know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23). Furthermore, we are invited to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him.” When we deny ourselves “of all ungodliness,” then and only “then is his grace sufficient” for us (Moroni 10:32).

Think about it. Then and only then is his grace sufficient for us. There is nothing really new here that I haven’t heard before. Robert Millet and Joseph Fielding McConkie said virtually the same thing when they also coupled 2 Nephi 25:23 with Moroni 10:32. They wrote, “Indeed, it is only after a person has so performed a lifetime of works and faithfulness — only after he has come to deny himself of all ungodliness and every worldly lust — that the grace of God, that spiritual increment of power, is efficacious” (Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon 1:295).

My question is, do these men really think they have “denied themselves of all ungodliness and every worldly lust”? If not, it seems clear by their own admission that the grace of God is not efficacious in their lives. If they think they have denied themselves of all ungodliness and every worldly lust, then I think they need to re-read 1 John 1:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

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7 Responses to Commandment-keeping and God’s Grace

  1. Keith Walker says:

    Then and only then? I can just hear it now. “That’s your interpretation!”

  2. rick b says:

    If I believed the BoM to be the word of God, and I were to have a favorite verse from that book, it would have to be 1 Nephi 3:7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

    If God really commanded men to be perfect and live 100 percent up to the law, and be perfect and all the other things God supposdely wants, as the LDS claim, then it seems to me either God lied in this verse or He is failing big time at keeping His promise.

  3. Anonymous says:

    matthew 5:48. i doubt He expects us to be perfect. I believe he expects us to try, and repent through the atonement of Jesus Christ every day that we fail. Like when we hate other religions and disrespectfully mock their beliefs. Or like the feelings I have toward this site, I should repent of those, too. I guess we all fall short.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I used to think that we had to try, that we had to make an effort to be good. Trying doesn’t make us good so it really is no benifit. No, God is the one who perfects us. All He desires is that we stay in His Word. Renewing our minds, washing our minds with the washing of the water of the word. When we do this, the fruit of our lives will be good, he gives us power to be good. We don’t have to try. We do so through Christ.

  5. Anonymous says:

    When Jesus mentions the word “keep”, he doesnt mean obey. He means to keep the word in our hearts, to meditate on it, to ponder it. As we do so, he changes our hearts and makes us not only want to do good and be good, but also gives us the power to do good because we take him at his word.

  6. Joe B. says:

    The words “sufficient” and “efficacious” are being used interchangeably here, and I don’t believe this is accurate. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus said “if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.” What is it for a man to deny himself? You decide, but whatever that means to you, it definitely indicates some action to be performed on the part of an individual. Read just a bit further, and you find these words, “and then he shall reward every man according to his works.”
    It appears to me that those who embrace the LDS interpretation of Moroni 10:32 are heavy on the works and light on the grace, while their detractors are heavy on the grace, and light on the works. Both sides of the argument appear to willingly ignore a ton of evidence in both the BoM and NT that clearly indicate that grace, faith and works are all a part of God’s plan of salvation.

  7. Joe B: “It appears to me that those who embrace the LDS interpretation of Moroni 10:32 are heavy on the works and light on the grace, while their detractors are heavy on the grace, and light on the works.”

    Actually Joe B, works are very much a part of the Christian lifestyle; however, Mormonism blurs the lines of distinction between justification and sanctification. We are justified by faith. Works are the result of saving faith.

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