211 5. MISUNDERSTANDING GRACE

211 5. MISUNDERSTANDING GRACE - CHAPTER 5: MISUNDERSTANDING...

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CHAPTER 5: MISUNDERSTANDING GRACE (Page numbers are bolded) Chapter Five 85 MISUNDERSTANDING GRACE 85 The doctrine of grace is susceptible to misunderstanding or distortion in several ways. Perhaps the most serious distortion is to argue that since in the covenant relationship Christ makes up what I lack, I don't need to work as hard anymore. I can relax and let Jesus do everything for me; I can just coast along with a token effort, clinging tenaciously to my favorite sins, and still expect to be "saved by grace." 85 In the early Christian Church, the Apostle Paul was confronted by those who thought grace would be a license and a shield for sin: "What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness." ( Rom. 6:15-16 .) 85The false doctrine of salvation by grace without commitment or loyalty violates the terms of the gospel covenant by asking Jesus to do for me what I could very well do for myself— but don't want to. Anyone can pretend to be doing their best and pretend to be justified by faith in Christ and to enjoy the companionship of the Holy Ghost, while in truth they remain obstinately committed to their sins. No one but God knows they are lying. I wish I could offer an objective test for distinguishing between the honest in heart who strive to do what they can and the pretenders who expect to be carried when they could walk, but I don't know how to do it. I am content that God knows the difference. 86 Certainly those who say, "I'm doing the best I can," but then willfully break the commandments need to learn the difference between wanting righteousness and wishing they wanted righteousness. Though God may accept righteous intentions and desires in place of perfect performance, he takes no wooden nickels. He will not accept in place of righteous intentions and desires mere wishes that we had some. The latter is not a commitment. It is not faithful. It does not meet the obligations of the gospel covenant—and it receives no promise. For in these cases the individuals don't really hunger and thirst after righteousness but after sin, and they expect Jesus to tolerate it or even to subsidize it. These have broken their covenant. Doctrine and Covenants 50:7-8 says, "Verily I say unto
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you, there are hypocrites among you, who have deceived some. . . . But the hypocrites shall be detected and shall be cut off, either in life or in death, even as I will." 86 Individuals who commit the moral and doctrinal error of refusing to do what they could very well do seek to be saved in their sins rather than from their sins. But that can never happen. There is a vast difference between viewing my sins as enemies from which I'm trying with difficulty to escape and viewing my sins as comfortable old friends I'm reluctant to leave behind. There is a difference between being unable to conquer all my sins right
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211 5. MISUNDERSTANDING GRACE - CHAPTER 5: MISUNDERSTANDING...

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