Friday, April 17, 2015

Simply Grace

Twice a year the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints speak to us church members in General Conference, which is broadcast to all the world. This is a chance to connect as a people, as well as hear counsel from our prophet and apostles. Many attend the conference itself in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, which I've been to many times but never during a conference session.

My kids love General Conference weekend because they can watch it in their pajamas from home. it they don't actually do. (I have friends who do an excellent job keeping their children's little hands occupied during conference, while keeping them mostly in front of the broadcast. Also, Pinterest is filled with ideas. Next conference project?) And the truth is, with young children running around, it's difficult to give the General Conference broadcast the attention I want to give it. I end up viewing most of it online in the days following.

General Conference weekend was just a couple weeks ago (Easter weekend). One morning earlier this week, before my older two were awake and while K was snuggled in my lap, I viewed Elder Uchtdorf's Sunday morning talk, The Gift of Grace. While we believe that faith without works is dead (James 2:26), Elder Uchtdorf reminded us of the saving power of His grace.

Salvation cannot be bought with the currency of obedience; it is purchased by the blood of the Son of God.

I loved his explanation of the relationship between grace and works.

Our obedience to God's commandments comes as a natural outgrowth of our endless love and gratitude for the goodness of God. This form of genuine love and gratitude will miraculously merge our works with God's grace. Virtue will garnish our thoughts unceasingly, and our confidence will wax strong in the presence of God. 

After I watched this talk, I dozed on the couch while K played with her Duplo Legos. She was attempting to build a tower on the coffee table, but it was too narrow and too high. It kept falling down, and she would groan and start over. I thought that must be how Heavenly Father sees us when we forget about grace. We keep trying to build a tower to heaven on our own, over and over again. We may groan with rage, but in the end--we need His grace.

We cannot earn our way into heaven; the demands of justice stand as a barrier, which we are powerless to overcome on our own. But all is not lost. The grace of God is our great and everlasting hope. Through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the plan of mercy appeases the demands of justice "and [brings] about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance."

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