Editor’s note: “Matters of faith” is a column that provides local religious leaders a place to write about how their respective faiths provide hope, courage and strength in these modern times.
“But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.” (Acts 15:11)
Several years ago when I served in a stake leadership position, our president asked to speak about the grace of the Lord in our next Sacrament meeting talk.
He believed many of our members misunderstood the pure doctrine of the grace of Christ.
Rather than saying, “Tell them this” or “Teach them that,” he taught from holy writ about the true meaning of grace.
In essence, he said many members of our church incorrectly believe that when we as mortals do everything on our part to live Christian lives and obey the laws and ordinances of the gospel, then Christ fills in “the gap” so we can return to God’s presence.
“That is false,” he emphatically said.
He said much of the misinformation stemmed from not fully understanding a Book of Mormon verse that reads, “We labor diligently … to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”
Two years ago, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf addressed this matter in general conference.
He said, “However, I wonder if sometimes we misinterpret the phrase ‘after all we can do.’ We must understand that ‘after’ does not equal ‘because.’
“We are not saved “because” of all that we can do. Have any of us done all that we can do? Does God wait until we’ve expended every effort before He will intervene in our lives with His saving grace?”
He then emphasized that the Savior’s grace allows and enables to overcome sin.
I appreciate the teachings of Brad Wilcox to Brigham Young University students in 2011 when he compared the Savior’s grace to a source of energy.
“Grace is not a booster engine that kicks in once our fuel supply is exhausted. Rather it is our constant energy source,” He said.
He added, “The grace of Christ is sufficient — sufficient to cover our debt, sufficient to transform us, and sufficient to help us for as long as the transformation process takes.”
It is my belief that God’s grace is readily available to all of us at all times and in all places.
Grace is unlike any temporal gift we may receive. It is not a present figuratively wrapped in a box with an attractive bow.
Rather, grace motivates us to love God and our neighbors with pure love. His grace brings a true transformation where we only seek to follow the commandments of our Savior.
I am convinced that Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins and we are saved only through His grace.
As we approach the Easter season and we focus our attention on the eternal suffering of the Savior in Gethsemane and upon Calvary, followed by His glorious resurrection, may we remember, as Paul taught, that grace is God’s gift to us.
Charlie Roberts is a former LDS bishop of the Tooele 6th Ward.