Salvation in This Life

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by Ray DeGraw

Those who crucified Jesus did so because they could not accept Him as the one who had paid (Jehovah) and would pay (Jesus) for their sins. They said, in essence:

“We don’t need you. We are children of Abraham. We are fine. We’ll do it on our own.

We decry deathbed repentance for those who consciously choose to procrastinate repentance until the end, because that approach allows them do what they want to do until they are facing death and the possibility of judgment. That is not repentance, as it does nothing to change our nature to become like God. At the same time, too many members view grace, faith, and works as follows:

“I must do everything I possibly can do; I must give my all; I must wear out myself trying to do what He has asked me to do – THEN, and only then, He will accept my effort and help me do more.”

That might not be the exact same mentality as deathbed repentance, but it is at least hospital bed repentance. In very real terms, it is saying, “I will let you know when I need you” – which is the same mentality as the one who procrastinates the request for help until his deathbed.

It also means that we will not receive the help He can give AS we struggle – which means we will not experience His freedom and joy until our frustration nearly (or completely) breaks us. Yes, we will then be blessed, but we will have missed so much in the meantime.

Hillary Weeks has a song entitled “Unwritten”. The central message is, in my own words:

As I review the pages of the book of my life, I am grateful for what I read (what I have experienced), but I am most grateful for what has remained unwritten – those things from which the grace of God has shielded me – those things I have not had to experience – those things from which I have been saved in this life.

Jesus, as the Christ, saved us from the effects of our actions in the next life, but Jesus, as the exemplary man, showed us a way to be saved from much of the effect of our fallen existence in this life. Understanding that he died for us is a wonderful thing, but understanding how he lived for us is just as amazing – and it is much more empowering here in mortality.  In a very real way, not accepting the example He paid so dearly to provide throughout his life until we have exhausted ourselves in our own lives is no different than not accepting that His offer was ever made in the first place, since they both tell Him to get lost until we get a handle on it on our own.

That is worth pondering all by itself.

photos by: Roby Ferrari & midiman

About Ray DeGraw

I am the husband of my high school sweetheart and father of six children. I basically have no life outside of family, work and church - except blogging, which I have been doing actively, to put it mildly, for the past 5 years. I have lived in almost every section of the United States and currently reside in Carson City, NV. I have written at Things of My Soul, Mormon Matters, Times & Seasons and StayLDS.com - and commented more than occasionally at various sites in the Bloggernacle.

5 Responses to Salvation in This Life

  1. Ramona Gordy says:

    I think that the hardest thing I have done since joining the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS, was to let go of my “will” and allow the Savior to “minister” unto me. What I mean is that, my goal everyday is to submit unto the will of the Father, through his Son Jesus Christ. It can be a hard day, and sometimes when I “listen” and “obey”, it is a wonderful day, despite perceived obstacles and land mines.LOL . What I am learning for myself, is that if I do what I have the faith to even try to accomplish, no matter what the size, for me it is the “real intent” that is honored by the Father, and then he gives me a “shoulder up” and I can at least do the best I can, and be happy about it.

  2. Ray DeGraw says:

    I forgot to say explicitly that if we focus exclusively on how he “will” save us and forget how he “has” saved us already, we end up in the exact same situation as the Jews who rejected what Jesus already had done for them as Jehovah.

    I wanted to make that point, so I started with it, but I never completed the loop explicitly.

  3. Bonnie says:

    Ray, these are easy things to forget in our rush to do our “all we can.” It’s a fine line to walk between doing our best and doing it alone in appearances, but in reality the two look absolutely nothing alike, as you so beautifully point out. To be tried with God is to never have that period where we don’t remember why there is only one set of footprints.

  4. Marsha Keller says:

    I love that Ray. So often people are lauded because they ‘died for ……’ (or are willing to) but how much more difficult is it to LIVE for someone, for some principle, for an example worth of the claim, “follow me”. Wow.

  5. Ray DeGraw says:

    Marsha, the concept expressed in the verse that says, “Greater love hath no man than this . . .” is dear to my heart, and I see that verse very differently than many people do. I will write a post about it here in the near future.

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