Tuesday, November 8, 2016

November 7, 2016 My Thoughts

Well, we knocked a lot of doors this week.  We helped 2 people rake their leaves, and that's about all the new stuff this week!    Perks of being in Rapid City though is that this week the weather has stayed in the 70's most days.  So nice.  Definitely won't hear me complaining about that!

I had my last ever ZTM this week.  I got to bare my testimony for the last time (in front of the missionaries, of course), as well accompany a couple Elders for a musical number.  

Aside from that, we've literally just been trying to find people to teach.  Hopefully this week we see the fruits of our labors!

The last few weeks there has been a very common theme in the things that people have said to us.  There have been quite a few people that would let us in for a little, and the 1 thing that everyone and their dog seems to know about the LDS church is that we believe that we have a responsibility to do what is right, and to keep the commandments.  I can't tell you how many times people have brought up that we believe our works save us, and I know that I have already done this a million times, but I wish to debunk that myth once more, right here and right now.  This is absolutely positively false.  The saddest thing is that it is a myth that members of the church carry!  Too many of us think that we must do this much, then Jesus makes up the difference.  Sorry folks, but that's not how it works.  "since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself" (Alma 22:14).  That's about as plain as it can get.  We cannot merit anything of ourselves.  We are eternally falling short of perfection, which is the requirement of entering God's presence."And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work."(Romans 11:6).    There are countless scriptures that say the same things.  But don't the scriptures also say that "it is by grace that we are saved after all we can do" (2 Nephi 25:23)?  Don't we read that "faith without works is dead" (The book of James brings up this point over and over and over again), and that we must "work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling"? (Philippians 2:12)  Yes, they do.  So what are we supposed to understand here?  This has been a subject of concern for people for centuries!  Obviously it was a problem in the time of Paul and James which was less than a 100 years after the death of the Savior.  The Apostles of the time wrote these letters to try and correct the issues that were being disputed over in the places where they had preached.  I feel comfortable assuming that the Romans had put too much emphasis on their own works and not enough on the Savior, so he told them countless times that it is grace alone that saves us.  And yet, in the same letter he poses this question to them.  "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?  God forbid."  (Romans 6:1-2).  

May I echo the words of the author Ecclesiastes in 12:13.  "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."  C.S. Lewis, when asked the question "which is more important?  Grace or works?"  Responded by saying "I really have no business commenting on the matter, but it seems to me like asking which blade on the scissors is more important."  If we try to put more emphasis on 1 verse of scripture more than another, we create a serious theological problem for yourslef.  We cannot ever earn our way into heaven.  Period.  Jesus is the one who payed for it, not us.  Are works the Savior?  No, Jesus is the Savior.  But if we truly believe in Christ, than we must believe His words, and He taught us countless times, both anciently and in modern times, the importance of obedience.  If we are disobedient, will we even want to live in God's presence?  No.  Nor has He ever told us that we don't need to do anything.  God's love is unconditional, and His Grace is sufficient for all who come unto Him.  Without Him, all is lost, and we can never see the kingdom of heaven.

I'm sorry if my thoughts are broken, time is short, and so are resources haha!  Love you all tons!  Thank you all for your prayers, they have helped me a ton.  

Elder Carter V

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