This week I am considering grace.
This is a virtue that gets a lot of air time in most Christian faiths, but not so much with Mormons. I think this is unfortunate, but I also think I know why it is. In the Book of Mormon, there is a verse which says
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. (2 Nephi 25:23)
I usually hear it read this way:
we know that it is by grace that we are saved, AFTER ALL WE CAN DO.
I think it should be read this way:
we know that IT IS BY GRACE THAT WE ARE SAVED, after all we can do.
Works are important, I don't doubt that for a second. James wrote that faith without works is dead (James 2:25). But the simple fact is that we are still saved by grace. Works do matter, and we should do good works, in fact we should do all that we can do...but we should never forget that no matter how much we do, it will not be sufficient on its own. We still need Saving Grace, even after all we can do.
Christ says "my grace is sufficient for all men" (Ether 12:27) and so it is. We should not stop doing our best, but we also should not forget that grace is personal (just as "our best" is personal and will vary from one person to another), and that Christ's Grace will fill up the parts we cannot fill, so long as we invite Him in.