Thursday, November 12, 2009

After All We Can Do?

2 Nephi 25:23-25
For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.
After all we can do? Really? Is it then by grace? No. Grace as Paul describes it is a free gift, it is given freely so that we have no room to boast. This verse in Nephi is nothing but rank blasphemy. The Biblical doctrine of original sin, and human nature shows that we can do nothing. In fact our “good works” are nothing but used Kotex in the eyes of God outside of Christ. To say we need to add something to Christ’s death on the Cross, is to say that what he did was not sufficient. It is to call him a liar, precisely at the moment he showed his boundless love for all man, breathing his last, and exclaiming “it is finished.” When we try to earn our salvation with our pathetic works, and good deeds, we insult God worse than a 2 cent tip left on a $200 meal your friend paid for. What? After all we can do? No the reality of it is we are saved by grace despite all we have done, despite who we are, despite all we will do, and despite the fact that we never do all we could.
I mean think about your life. Let’s be a little hypothetical here, and say our good works could count for something, and God really did save us by grace after all we can do. (Put aside the contradiction there for a moment. It is either by grace, or works, the two are mutually exclusive. But I digress.) Have you really done all you could do? How many times have you passed the bell ringer outside Albertsons? How many times have you looked down at your feet passing a panhandler? Really couldn’t afford a dollar? Not even a bit of spare change? Have you really done all you could do? How many times have you ignored the bullying or participated in it with some ugly girl at school? Really? Couldn’t invite that person to your birthday party huh? Couldn’t treat that person as worthy of your attention?
And then when you do, why do you do it? Do you do it because you genuinely care for this person as a fellow brother or sister? Or is it because you are afraid to go to hell, and see this person as your ticket to heaven? You don’t do it out of love do you? Just love for yourself. You don’t love your neighbor as yourself, you just use them as a stepping stone for your own ends and needs, a ticket to heaven. If it is after all we can do, we are screwed.


Jonathan said...

"used Kotex" indeed--now there's a real word picture for "filthy rags."

Jonathan said...

"After all we can do" indeed. This reveals the circular reasoning behind their atonement/repentence canundrum: we sin, so we need atonement, but we receive atonement by repentence, which means not sinning. That carrot's always gonna remain just out of reach.

Brigitte said...

Jonathan, don't encourage him with his exact Biblical language, I'd say.

Doing your best is what we're often told to do. But what is that? It means nothing. It is like the love added to faith. Love after faith is good. But love as condition does not work. There is never enough or good enough love, or properly, it is not love at all. I asked Bryan Cross four times last week, if he had love, or enough love to go with his faith. He never answered the question. That's because no body can say that they have enough of the right kind of love.

Bror Erickson said...

Yes, Jonathan, the Bible is actually quite a bit more graphic than the Victorian influenced mind can take. It is a nasty picture, but then it was just as nasty in the Greek, and the Hebrew.
Yes, I pick on the Mormons here with this after all you can do, but talking to most Christians it comes down to the same thing.

Jonathan said...

Greater love hath no man than this: that he lay down his life for another.

Still not enough?

Brigitte said...

Christ is God and has enough love to become the Savior of us all by dying.

I sometimes have a sensation of willingness, in theory, (haven't had to prove that), to die for someone. It certainly is not enough. Yet, Christ died for such as we are. Amazing, really.