What Does It Mean to Be Saved by Grace “After All We Can Do?”

grace – the free and unmerited favour of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings (Oxford English Dictionary)

Are we not all beggars? (Mosiah 4:19)

After quoting a sermon by his brother Jacob, followed by thirteen chapters from the Book of Isaiah, all of which were intended to prove “the truth of the coming of Christ” (2 Nephi 11:4), Nephi began to provide his own commentary. Isaiah was difficult for his people to understand, he said, but the fundamental message was straightforward: The Messiah will come. He will suffer and be rejected. His people will be scattered. But ultimately, He will restore them and will make it possible for everyone to be saved.

Nephi worked very hard to persuade his people “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).

In saying this, he was echoing some of the final words of Jacob’s sermon:

Reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved (2 Nephi 10:24).

Nephi, Jacob, and others used every means possible to turn the hearts of their people towards the Savior:

We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins (2 Nephi 25:26).

We can’t earn God’s grace, and we can’t be saved without it. What must we do then?

We need to open our hearts to receive it.

For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? (Doctrine & Covenants 88:33).

That isn’t as easy as it sounds. According to Nephi, we must take the following actions to receive the gift:

  1. We must believe in Christ.
  2. We must be reconciled to God.

We are reconciled to God as we change our behavior to align with His will, enter sacred covenants with Him, and then keep our promises, making course corrections when needed.

After Ammon and his brothers taught the Lamanites, their king reminded them of the effort they had put into repentance:

It has been all that we could do…to repent of all our sins…, and to get God to take them away from our hearts, for it was all we could do to repent sufficiently before God that he would take away our stain (Alma 24:11).

God will help us as we make the effort to open our hearts to Him. As Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf has taught:

The Savior’s grace allows and enables us to overcome sin. This is why Nephi labored so diligently to persuade his children and brethren “to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God.”
After all, that is what we can do! And that is our task in mortality! (“The Gift of Grace,” General Conference, April 2015).

Today, I will be grateful for a Heavenly Father who loves me and who wants to bless me. I strive to take the actions which will open my heart to receive His gifts, remembering that I can only be saved by His grace.

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