Are we saved by grace alone?
If we are saved by grace alone, why would God call prophets? What would be the point of having scriptures? Why would God give us commandments if there was no need for us to follow them?
Well, the answer is…. Works do matter.
Please don’t take that the wrong way though…. Please don’t presume that any amount of “being good” on our part will ever “cancel-out” or “erase” the mistakes (sins) we’ve made in our lives.
Only Jesus can forgive sin–because he paid for our sins.
Why does God give us commandments? God gives us commandments to help us become like Him.
God gives us commandments with the full expectation that ALL his children can keep them. He does not ask of us the impossible.
If we choose of follow the commandments, we are blessed. If we choose not to follow the commandments, we miss-out on those blessings.
Just because you follow the commandments doesn’t mean that you won’t have trials in your life. Life is a test. However, you will be better suited to deal with your trials because you’ll qualify the the Lord’s help by striving to keep his commandments.
The Lord doesn’t expect us to reach perfection in this life. However, the Lord does expect us to pick ourselves up when we fall down, brush off the dust (repent), and do our best continue on the right path.
Commandments matter. Living them matters. Learning them matters. You can’t live the commandments if you don’t know them.
God decrees commandments. Commandments may change over time–according to how receptive his children are to listening to his prophets. When changes occur, we should be willing to accept them.
Pray about God’s commandments. Ask Him about them. Get confirmation from Him that they are true.
Some commandments are collective–they apply to everyone. The 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17, KJV) are an example. The 10 Commandments didn’t only apply to Moses and the people of Israel. These commandments apply to everyone. Everyone can be blessed by following them.
Other types of commandments, however, are of a more personal (1 on 1) nature. To return and live with God though, we need to individually make covenants (or promises) with God–and keep the covenants that we make.
Covenants involve ordinances. Ordinances are symbolic, outward acts that represent an internal commitment to keep promises made with God. Ordinances performed by those who hold the priesthood of God so they are enforceable after this life. Covenants are binding promises made with God.
The ordinances of salvation include….
- Receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost.
- Receiving the priesthood (if you are male).
- Receiving your endowment.
- Being sealed to your wife (if you are male) or your husband (if you are female).
Baptism is the first ordinance of the gospel. When someone is baptized, they covenant (or promise) to take the name of Jesus Christ upon themselves and choose to follow him.
The act of baptism involves….
- Entering a body of water.
- An authorized bearer of God’s priesthood saying the baptismal prayer.
- Being baptized (submersed) completely under the water by the priesthood bearer.
Ordinances involve symbolism. Being completely submersed under the water is symbolic of complete commitment to the covenant.
Being completely submersed under the water is also symbolic of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The water represents the tomb. Buried in the water represents being buried in the tomb. Being raised out of the water is symbolic of being raised out of the tomb–when we will all be resurrected. In a sense, we are then “born again”. We “live again” after we have died. The “man” (or “woman”) of sin dies and we are “re-born” a new person–a disciple of Jesus Christ.
I will not go into further detail about ordinances at this time. Suffice it to say, our first goal should to keep the commandments. The first commandment is to “Repent and be baptized”–by someone who is authorized to do so our baptism will be valid after this life.
Lastly, we may not always understand the reasoning for why God gives us a commandment. He gives us commandments, because he loves us and wants to bless us. I know that God will bless you for following them.