There is a particular articulation of the concept of grace, perhaps owing to a simplified explanation of salvation, that I sometimes hear in Church settings. It is, in effect, that Jesus Christ saves us from physical death by grace as a “free gift,” but that redemption from spiritual death comes “by works,” with no mention of grace’s involvement. This is to account for the fact that we believe that all humanity will be resurrected physically, but that the possibility exists for us to fall short in our works and thereby lose the opportunity for spiritual salvation in Heavenly Father’s Kingdom. Those who receive exaltation have committed certain acts, such as baptism, which covenant is absolutely required to receive such a blessing as exaltation. Thus, physical redemption is free grace, but spiritual redemption is entirely up to you and your effort.
I believe this unfortunate articulation can lead the gospel learner into a very discouraging existence, attempting to earn one’s way into heaven and – as most experienced Mormons know – ultimately failing. Read the rest of this entry