His Grace Is Sufficient
Wilcox, Brad July 12, 2011
Wow! What an amazing talk given at the BYU Devotional last month. Check it out at THIS LINK where you can listen to it, download it, view it, buy it, whatever you wish. It is fantastic!
I have always struggled with how to explain what I understand about the Atonement and how it is important that we DO OUR PART while still acknowledging the Savior’s sacrifice as a necessary/essential part of our salvation. This talk explains it very well! In high school, I was bombarded by people who would interrogate me about my faith and why I would take part in the ordinances and rites of my church. They told me that even baptism is a form of work and demonstrates some lack of faith in Christ, or it is an act of defiance/denial of Christ’s grace. On the contrary, it is a demonstration of my increased faith and the covenants I make bind me to Christ as my advocate and Redeemer. I wish I understood this more back then. I have since learned A LOT more and have come to understand the infinite power of the Atonement in my life and what it means to be a disciple of Christ.
“Even so afaith, if it hath not bworks, is dead, being alone.Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my afaith by my bworks” (James 2:17-18). “Wherefore by their afruits ye shall know them.Not every one that asaith unto me, bLord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that cdoeth the dwill of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:20-21).
“Christ’s arrangement with us is similar to a mom providing music lessons for her child. Mom pays the piano teacher. How many know what I am talking about? Because Mom pays the debt in full, she can turn to her child and ask for something. What is it? Practice! Does the child’s practice pay the piano teacher? No. Does the child’s practice repay Mom for paying the piano teacher? No. Practicing is how the child shows appreciation for Mom’s incredible gift. It is how he takes advantage of the amazing opportunity Mom is giving him to live his life at a higher level. Mom’s joy is found not in getting repaid but in seeing her gift used—seeing her child improve. And so she continues to call for practice, practice, practice.”
“I have born-again Christian friends who say to me, “You Mormons are trying to earn your way to heaven.” I say, “no, we are not earning heaven. We are learning heaven. We are preparing for it (see D&C 78:7). We are practicing for it.” They ask me, “Have you been saved by grace?” I answer, “Yes. Absolutely, totally, com-
pletely, thankfully—yes!” Then I ask them a question that perhaps they have not fully considered: “Have you been changed by grace?” They are so excited about being saved that maybe they are not thinking enough about what comes next. They are so happy the debt is paid that they may not have considered why the debt existed in the first place. Latter-day Saints know not only what Jesus has saved us from but also what He has saved us for. As my friend Brett Sanders puts it, “a life impacted by grace eventually begins to look like Christ’s life.” as my friend Omar Canals puts it, “While many Christians view Christ’s suffering as only a huge favor He did for us, Latter-day Saints also recognize it as a huge investment He made in us.” “The miracle of the atonement is not just that we can go home but that—miraculously—we can feel at home there. If Christ did not require faith and repentance, then there would be no desire to change. Think of your friends and family members who have chosen to live without faith and without repentance. They don’t want to change. They are not trying to abandon sin and become comfortable with God. Rather, they are trying to abandon God and become comfortable with sin. If Jesus did not require covenants and bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost, then there would be no way to change.”