Thursday, January 7, 2010

In Appreciation of Amazing "Good News"

I deeply appreciated this well written and spot-on column by Jerry Johnston yesterday--Humility only real response to salvation.

Johnston juxtaposes Stephen Robinson's Parable of the Bicycle with Brad Wilcox's take from his book "The Continuous Atonement". I haven't read Wilcox's book, but I like this much:

"I think of the Atonement more like this: Jesus already bought the whole bike. The few coins he asks from me are not so much to help pay for the bike, but rather to help me appreciate it, value it and use it correctly."

Johnson goes on to write that "Wilcox -- like Robinson -- shows that humility and gratitude are the only honest responses, since we have so little to do with redemption. More than that, I like the way Wilcox pulls the emphasis from our 'contributing' to salvation to our 'appreciating' it."

I like that too. After all, "we're not so much partners in salvation as beneficiaries. Being asked to keep the commandments isn't about 'chipping in.' It's about learning to value and put to work what has already been done for us."

The entire column is excellent--but I especially loved the last line: "The old Protestant hymn had it right [all] along: grace, however one defines it, will always be amazing."

While some may initially think this sounds evangelical, I hope they reconsider. Emphasizing "Christ reliance" over "self-reliance" ought to resonate among humble Latter-day Saints. I, for one, could certainly stand to hear more of it. And more often.


NM said...

That's more like it... :)

Hope you and your family are well.

Sally said...

Go Brad Wilcox! I've always thought of it something like that, too. That the money we put in towards the bike isn't really even from us. That it's only because of Christ's grace that we have any money to contribute in the first place. That's the enabling power of Grace.

Papa D said...

Good post, CC - especially for someone who had quit blogging. LOL

Sarah said...

Wow. I love it.

Stephanie said...

Emphasizing "Christ reliance" over "self-reliance" ought to resonate among humble Latter-day Saints.

I've been studying the book of Hebrews in my devotions recently and keep coming back to chapters 3 and 4. The author of Hebrews uses the Old Testament analogy of the Jews entering the promised land as a picture of people entering into a relationship with Christ. In chapter 4 the author points out that God rested from His works on the seventh day of creation. The spiritual "Sabbath rest" is now available for all through Christ. "For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his" (Heb. 4:10). The idea of resting in Christ is such a comforting thought to me.

Ryan said...

Totally awesome, dude. I especially like the idea that Christ asks something of us to help us appreciate the gift.

The only thing I might add is that obedience, and keeping the commandments in particular, isn't just about giving something to Christ in return for His mercy.

Even in asking us to "give" something to Him, Christ gives us a gift.

We often act like obedience is some onerous task, almost like it's a bad thing except God said to do it, forgetting that the commandments are there for our own benefit and protection!

It's maybe a bit like the parent telling the toddler, "I'll give you dessert if you eat your veggies." Really, they should want to eat the veggies anyway, because they're healthy (and actually tasty if you can taste anything besides sugar and fat), but most toddlers are naturally averse and need a bit more convincing.

And, like most of us, the toddler just thinks eating vegetables is a way to "earn" dessert...

Alma nails it, discussing the episode of the fiery flying serpents:

"Many did look and live, but few understood the meaning of those things, and ... [many] were so hardened that they would not look, therefore they perished."

matt w. said...

This deserves a full response which I don't have time to give at the moment, but I think I just figured out what my stumbling point is with the whole "parable of the bicycle". I'll try to write something up on a less busy weekend, but in short, I'm not sure Salvation is something we get, but instead it is something we are.

S.Faux said...

Clean Cut:

Great thoughts. I wish we could emphasize the concept of "grace" more. The new "Gospel Principles" manual connects grace to salvation only once (p. 99, item #6). Even in that language the weight seems to be put upon being judged for our works.

Works, indeed, are essential, but they are a manifestation of "grace," as we are enabled through the atonement to perform works that we otherwise would not.

In our LDS parlance we need to somehow better link "grace" with works. David Bednar's 2001 speech at BYU, "In the Strength of the Lord," is an excellent example of how this linage might be accomplished or reemphasized.

Mitch said...

I think merits is a better word choice than works. Aaron says to the Lamanite king that we cannot merit anything of ourselves because of the fall. He then tells that Christ will atone for our sins through our faith and repentance. I take that to mean our merits do count, but only because of the merits of Christ's atonement. Meaning we can only lay claim to mercy through our repentance. Our repentance is only made valid through the atonement.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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