Grace - Long Initial Post

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Curt Sunshine
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Re: Grace - Long Initial Post

Post by Curt Sunshine » 26 Feb 2009, 18:21

Excellent points, Katie.

I am going to excerpt a bit from the following post that discusses the difference between "works" and "fruits":

http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com/2008 ... hirst.html
"It is apparent from these verses, and hundreds of others that I might have quoted, that, while "works" and "fruit" both refer to our actions, one focuses strictly on those actions ("works") and the other focuses primarily on the source of those actions ("fruit")."

"Certainly, there are some things that are required of all (baptism, basic adherence to the commandments, etc.), but we will be judged primarily on whether or not our "works" are produced by a real connection to a good tree or vine - whether or not they are the result of the nurture of the Spirit - whether or not they are the works that God desires of each of us individually."
"Works provide exercise, but only divine works (fruits) provide the sustenance that feeds my soul and satisfies my hunger and thirst."
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

katielangston
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Re: Grace - Long Initial Post

Post by katielangston » 26 Feb 2009, 19:15

Ray, my sentiments exactly.

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Brian Johnston
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Re: Grace - Long Initial Post

Post by Brian Johnston » 26 Feb 2009, 19:33

I am using your statements as talking points Katie. They made me think.
katielangston wrote:I agree that grace vs. works is the great tightrope/pretzel (love the pretzel image) of Christianity. An emphasis of one over the other is damaging indeed. Is one more important than the other? I don't think so. But is there a better place to start? I think there might be.
Yes. Grace is more important than works. Grace saves everyone. Works are the gravy. We get a free ride on grace. That gives us the freedom to explore this sandbox and build our perfection through trial and error. Grace is the foundation we set to start building our exaltation (a different thing than salvation).

So I say Grace is more important -- just a thought.

katielangston wrote:But do the works of the gospel profit anyone who doesn't do them for love?
Yes. If a wicked person helps me in a time of need, even for imperfect reasons, I still profit. A "good" is still enacted in the world. The giver doesn't benefit in that example. Doesn't the recipient still profit?

Good works for impure reasons just don't give power to exalt the doer spiritually.
katielangston wrote:Because our BECOMING doesn't happen on its own; it doesn't happen through sheer willpower, grit, and determination; it happens through our surrendering to God. It's an act of opening up, of turning to Him, of allowing Him to work THROUGH us (receiving His image in our countenances, as Alma so beautifully puts it). This, like the gift of salvation itself, is not something we earn; it's something God has already given us, if we will only allow Him to work in our lives.
Beautifully said. Thanks!
katielangston wrote:The "easy grace" we've talked about is a cheap substitute. Because grace changes you, fundamentally. Grace *is* the mechanism through which we DO and BECOME. It is the enabling power that makes it happen.
Agreed. Grace is a perspective and a quality of being, not a reward.
"It's strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone." -John O'Donohue, Anam Cara, speaking of experiencing life.

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Re: Grace - Long Initial Post

Post by Curt Sunshine » 26 Feb 2009, 20:32

But do the works of the gospel profit anyone who doesn't do them for love?


Yes. Even those who only do good publicly in order to gain the praise of men "have their reward" - the praise of men. That reward simply isn't eternal.

This actually was my focus last month, so I wrote about it explicitly. Sorry, for the continued linking of posts from my personal blog, but it's easier than pasting everything here:

http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com/2009 ... e-men.html
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

katielangston
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Re: Grace - Long Initial Post

Post by katielangston » 27 Feb 2009, 00:02

But do the works of the gospel profit anyone who doesn't do them for love?

Yes. If a wicked person helps me in a time of need, even for imperfect reasons, I still profit. A "good" is still enacted in the world. The giver doesn't benefit in that example. Doesn't the recipient still profit?

Yes. Even those who only do good publicly in order to gain the praise of men "have their reward" - the praise of men. That reward simply isn't eternal.
Really excellent distinctions here. Thank you. Doing good for the wrong reasons can earn you earthly rewards--or help a person in need--but that doesn't necessarily translate into eternal blessings.

One other thing I've been thinking about as a result of this thread is the idea of judgment. The scriptures teach that we are judged by our works, but it is my understanding that if we are to get what we deserve works-wise, we are all damned.

Isn't it true that those who have NOT accepted Christ will be judged by their own works--left to stand on whatever they've merited alone, as it were--but those who have accepted the Savior will be judged by Christ's works as opposed to their own? The implication being that when we attain at-one-ment with God, His works swallow up ours and we are judged on the merits of CHRIST, not our own merits. This is yet another application of grace. Yes?

katielangston
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Re: Grace - Long Initial Post

Post by katielangston » 27 Feb 2009, 00:05

Yes. Grace is more important than works. Grace saves everyone. Works are the gravy.
You know what, Valoel? I agree.

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Re: Grace - Long Initial Post

Post by Curt Sunshine » 27 Feb 2009, 01:08

Isn't it true that those who have NOT accepted Christ will be judged by their own works--left to stand on whatever they've merited alone, as it were--but those who have accepted the Savior will be judged by Christ's works as opposed to their own? The implication being that when we attain at-one-ment with God, His works swallow up ours and we are judged on the merits of CHRIST, not our own merits. This is yet another application of grace. Yes?
Well said. Hence, the distinction between works and fruits. However, I would make one modification:

Those who have not accepted Christ will be judged by their own works alone, IF they have had the chance to make an informed and spirit-influenced decision to accept him. That is one of the beauties of Mormon theology, for me - the universal nature of the application of grace. Whether or not vicarious ordinances really are necessary for others, the concept that those who never have the chance to accept him will receive that chance and, thus, be covered by grace just as those who accept him in this life are is a wonderful thing, imo.

It takes us back to what Tom said so well:
"I must act to glorify the Father, and I must extend to you unending grace as you walk your own path."
"As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" is a beautiful verse - and it gets short shrift in nearly all Protestant theologies. It's truly ironic, but Mormonism really is much more grace founded than all the standard Protestant denominations. That just gets lost in our focus on obedience and keeping the commandments.

It's the modern hedging about the law (works of man) that bothers me, not necessarily the focus on doing what God and Jesus told us to do (bringing forth good fruits).
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

katielangston
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Re: Grace - Long Initial Post

Post by katielangston » 27 Feb 2009, 08:49

Whether or not vicarious ordinances really are necessary for others...
This is another thread entirely...but it really intrigued me. Are you saying you think all of the temple ceremonies may be symbolic? Including the vicarious work we do? As in, not literally necessary?
It's the modern hedging about the law (works of man) that bothers me, not necessarily the focus on doing what God and Jesus told us to do (bringing forth good fruits).
When you say "hedging about the law," you mean the common Evangelical/Protestant view that you can do whatever you want and still be saved, right? Just clarifying.

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Brian Johnston
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Re: Grace - Long Initial Post

Post by Brian Johnston » 27 Feb 2009, 11:39

katielangston wrote:This is another thread entirely...but it really intrigued me. Are you saying you think all of the temple ceremonies may be symbolic? Including the vicarious work we do? As in, not literally necessary?
This wasn't my question, but I wanted to respond anyway. I think where you are headed with that thought is a distinct possibility. I don't want to go offtrack in this thread, but yes. I have considered that too.
"It's strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone." -John O'Donohue, Anam Cara, speaking of experiencing life.

katielangston
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Re: Grace - Long Initial Post

Post by katielangston » 27 Feb 2009, 12:12

This wasn't my question, but I wanted to respond anyway. I think where you are headed with that thought is a distinct possibility. I don't want to go offtrack in this thread, but yes. I have considered that too.
Am seriously intrigued by this and it might help me find some peace re: the temple. If anyone has developed this train of thought further, would love for them to start a thread or point me to a post or something. :)

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