Today in seminary, our lesson was on GRACE.
In the last couple of years, I have fortunately/unfortunately had the opportunity to learn more about the Lord’s grace in my own life. I say unfortunately because usually we learn these types of lessons under a little bit of duress. They are borne out of disappointments or desperation. It’s not often that we go to the Lord asking for trials or tribulations. (At least I don’t) I also say fortunately because it is a sweet addition to my testimony of God’s power.
When I shared the lesson material with my class, I realize that some will get it and some will not. There are a number of students who are going through their own trials right now, but for the most part, they are teenagers living the American Dream and the full impact of God’s grace will be lost on them today……….but will resurface in their lives sometime.
And I realize that sharing my thoughts on grace will not be any great revelation to you, but will probably leave you shaking your head at my limited knowledge.
But here is what I enjoyed about our seminary discussion today:
From the Bible Dictionary: "GRACE: A word that occurs frequently in the New Testament, especially in the writings of Paul. The main idea of the word is divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ.
It is through the grace of the Lord Jesus, made possible by his atoning sacrifice, that mankind will be raised in immortality, every person receiving his body from the grave in a condition of everlasting life. It is likewise through the grace of the Lord that individuals, through faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means. This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts.
Divine grace is needed by every soul in consequence of the fall of Adam and also because of man’s weaknesses and shortcomings. However, grace cannot suffice without total effort on the part of the recipient. Hence the explanation, “It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Ne. 25: 23). It is truly the grace of Jesus Christ that makes salvation possible. This principle is expressed in Jesus’ parable of the vine and the branches (John 15: 1-11). "
The points we tried to hit upon in our short 30-40 minutes were these
1. Grace is a divine means of help, or an enabling power.
2. We need grace because of the Fall of Adam and man’s shortcomings.
3. The Lord extends grace to us when He:
a. Raises us to immortality.
b. Gives us strength and assistance to do good works.
c. Helps us gain exaltation.
4. To receive grace in our lives we need to make our own best effort and live the first principles and ordinances of the gospel.
I think we all recognize the gift of the resurrection: that it is just that – a GIFT. We have done nothing to deserve such a gift, but each of us through God’s grace will receive this gift no matter what. And I think that we all recognize that no matter how hard we try to obey the commandments and no matter how much we do, it will NEVER be enough. We will never be perfect. We cannot possibly do it on our own. And once again, it is only through God’s grace that we will be able to be made perfect.
But here is the day to day beauty of God’s grace in our lives. As we travel life’s roads, we get off track. There are consequences for our mistakes. Some mistakes can be corrected rather quickly and the consequences relatively small. But sometimes, our mistakes produce reverberating consequences that change the course of our lives and even others’ lives. No matter how we repent, no matter how we get our lives in order, some consequences cannot be erased. Likewise, life deals us some harsh disappointments. And sometimes we are the victims of others’ sins. We can forgive. We can try to forget. But sometimes there are scars. Sometimes it seems like it will be nearly impossible to go on. And often, even if we forgive and even if try to move on, things will most definitely never be the same.
And this when in the quiet moment, my hundreds and thousands of prayers are answered and I realize that no, things will never be the same; but it’s okay. Through the miracle of grace, the anger, the hurt, the disappointments of life can be erased and I can feel the power to move on.
That’s the grace that gets us through today, this month, this year and this lifetime. It really has no definition except that it is a miraculous power that comes as a pure gift from God.