I just read a great discussion on grace, really the first explanation that I have heard that makes sense to me. I wish that someone would have explained it to me in this manner earlier in my life. I very much felt like the young girl in the beginning of this article that came to Brad Wilcox.
She said, “I just don’t get grace. I know I need to do my best, and then Jesus does the rest, but I can’t even do my best.” I always felt there was more that I could do. I just didn’t understand grace! I’ve pulled out some highlights below, but I encourage you to read the whole thing below.
“Christ asks us to show faith in Him, repent, make and keep covenants, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. By complying, we are not paying the demands of justice—not even the smallest part. Instead, we are showing appreciation for what Jesus Christ did by using it to live a life like His.”
Grace Transforms Us
“Christ’s arrangement with us is similar to a mom providing music lessons for her child. Mom pays the piano teacher. Because Mom pays the debt in full, she can turn to her child and ask for something. What is it? Practice! Does the child’s practice pay the piano teacher? No. Does the child’s practice repay Mom for paying the piano teacher? No. Practicing is how the child shows appreciation for Mom’s incredible gift. It is how he takes advantage of the amazing opportunity Mom is giving him to live his life at a higher level. Mom’s joy is found not in getting repaid but in seeing her gift used—seeing her child improve. And so she continues to call for practice, practice, practice.”
Dallin H. Oaks said, “The repenting sinner must suffer for his sins, but this suffering has a different purpose than punishment or payment. Its purpose is change”
“The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can be cleansed and consoled but that we can be transformed (see Romans . Scriptures make it clear that no unclean thing can dwell with God (see Alma 40:26), but no unchanged thing will even want to.”
Grace Helps Us
“But don’t you realize how hard it is to practice? I’m just not very good at the piano. I hit a lot of wrong notes. It takes me forever to get it right.” Now wait. Isn’t that all part of the learning process? When a young pianist hits a wrong note, we don’t say he is not worthy to keep practicing. We don’t expect him to be flawless. We just expect him to keep trying. Perfection may be his ultimate goal, but for now we can be content with progress in the right direction. Why is this perspective so easy to see in the context of learning piano but so hard to see in the context of learning heaven?”
“There should never be just two options: perfection or giving up. When learning the piano, are the only options performing at Carnegie Hall or quitting? No. Growth and development take time. Learning takes time. “
“Grace is not a booster engine that kicks in once our fuel supply is exhausted.”
“Rather, it is our constant energy source. It is not the light at the end of the tunnel but the light that moves us through the tunnel. Grace is not achieved somewhere down the road. It is received right here and right now.”
“The grace of Christ is sufficient (see Ether 12:27; D&C 17:8)—sufficient to cover our debt, sufficient to transform us, and sufficient to help us for as long as that transformation process takes. “
Questions to Ponder:
1. How does understanding grace help us better access that power?