Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Grace and Works and the Missing Piece

It seems like modern Christian religions fall into 2 camps.

1. Grace

2. Works

There is a missing piece to this puzzle...Suffering!

Mormons would obviously fall into the Works camp. Too many think that they can save or perfect themselves. Mormons do recognize CHRIST's atonement, but they misunderstand it. It is not the topping on the cake. Their works after baptism are the topping. But they miss the critical ingredient...suffering. 

You can keep the commandments near perfectly, like the rich young ruler. However, if you are not willing to give everything you value away, you will not get the full benefit of JESUS' sacrifice. You have to sacrifice as well. The widow and her mites gave up everything and is undoubtedly presently in the Kingdom of GOD.

Educated Mormons like Blake Ostler and Avraham Gileadi understand that the scriptures point to the necessity of the Atonement as a means to grant people time to repent. I would agree with those 2 because they are both smarter than I am. That is a low bar I know, but I have learned a lot from them both. 

Christians who favor grace think they can do whatever they want, and if they accept JESUS as their savior then they are saved. They are right. They will be saved from Death and eventually from Hell, but only after suffering for their own sins. I would like to avoid that. I might not, but I will not be shocked. If we do not repent and start acting more like JESUS and less like the average selfish person, we will join Satan for as long as it takes to suffer the consequences of our selfish choices.

One idea that popped into my finite mind the other day was "Most people who believe in GOD want it to be hard for GOD and easy for them." No matter what we do we are never going to endure as much as CHRIST. Attempting to see how little we can do and still go to Heaven is a recipe for spiritual disaster. 

Mormons and Christians think that JESUS suffered so they do not have to. Wrong! You can get out of suffering for your sins via sincere repentance. That is not the same as getting the best result possible. You will not get to live with CHRIST after this life if you were "unlucky" enough to avoid suffering. 

The words of the Eagles' song "Sad Cafe" come to mind.  

"I don't know why Fortune smiles on some, and lets the rest go free?" 

Ironic and true all at the same time. 

By suffering, I am not talking about your dog dying. All dogs go to Heaven, but not all dog owners. Not even a cat dying, and I have 3, will count. It takes much more than that.

I am talking about family and friends betraying you because you left their chosen faith. Your reason was that you feel that is what GOD wants from you. It would be much easier to stay in the religion to make everyone else happy, and keep the family together...all the way to Hell. Someone has to step up and take a stand to demonstrate that "families are forever" does not trump GOD's will. 

I am writing about being willing, like Abraham, to sacrifice your life, your spouse, and your children if that is what GOD asks. Remember, Abraham had to give up Ishmael at his wife's request or there would have been no Isaac. Imagine a modern mother doing the reverse and sending a child away at the request of the father.
It is not very likely.

Sacrifice means taking a life, like Nephi, when you would much rather not. It means moving your family away from your lifelong home, like Lehi and Sariah, never to return. 

The people of Ammon (the Anti-Nephi-Lehis) felt inspired to be killed rather than defend themselves. It was an effort to please and the GOD who saved them from their many murders. It was also in similitude of their SAVIOR who died to save others rather than Himself. Are you willing to die if GOD asked you to?

I am in no way minimizing the suffering JEHOVAH went through to save the people of His stewardship. It is beyond comprehension. It was infinite, because He is infinite.  Unfortunately the Atonement is not all the suffering necessary to get people into the Kingdom of GOD. 

Stop asking about why GOD is allowing you to suffer and start thanking Him for the chance to improve your situation in the life to come. 

GOD always returns "with interest" what He asks for as a sacrifice.