Wednesday, April 20, 2011

saved by grace

Yesterday, I was sitting in my apartment when two kids knocked on my door.  They introduced themselves as students from a Christian high school in Virginia who were learning about the LDS church in one of their classes.  The school organized a field trip for them and their classmates to come to a place with lots of Mormons so they could learn more.  They were really cool kids and very respectful and I loved chatting with them.  They invited me to their worship service that night, which I attended, and we went out to dinner afterwards and talked some good story.  

One of the things we talked about in our conversation at my house was salvation through works vs. salvation through grace.  Their point that they eloquently made was that our works come as we show gratitude to God for His mercy, but it's not essential for our salvation.  I agree with the first part of their statement, because our obedience should be a function of our love for God and desire to serve Him, not our expectation of salvation or blessings.  

We talked a little about that and I brought up a scripture in 2 Nephi 25:23. where it reads, "For we labor diligently to write,  to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled with God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do" (emphasis added).  Without confrontation, they heard what I had to say and showed a genuine interest and curiosity in why the LDS church believes such.

What I hope they took away from our conversation (and I wish I had remembered to pray before we talked) is that Mormons believe in salvation by grace as well.  None of us is perfect or powerful enough to satisfy the demands of justice that are placed on all of us when we fall.  My amazing Institute teacher back home put it in informal language when he envisioned Jesus speaking with Heavenly Father on our behalf: "Don't look at GMP.  Look at me.  GMP has satisfied the requirements I placed on him, now look at MY perfection to judge him."  

They were good kids.  I'd love to see what happens to them in the future.  I met their friends at the worship service that night and when I asked what the group what they wanted to be when they grew up, their answers were varied except in one aspect: all of them thought and pondered about where their talents and interests could serve God in His kingdom?  What kind of high schoolers think about how their dream jobs will help build the Kingdom?  How awesome they will be if that continues to be their motivation.

I wish I was that kind of a spiritual rock star in high school.  I will probably never see them again in this realm, but if they endure and I endure, I can't wait to meet them on the other side and ask what they did to serve.

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