Earlier this week before Christmas I had a contact with someone who was not of our faith, he was a pretty nice man, but didn’t really like our religion because he believes that we are saved solely on grace. Which is true, but we are only saved on grace for the imperfections that always dwell in humanity after we have tried our best. We read in the scriptures that faith without works is dead (James 2:17-18;26). Why then do some of our Christian brothers and sisters believe that we are saved solely on grace without works?
We could find one answer in Romans 4:16. In the English Standerd Version of the Bible it says, “That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be garunteed to all his offspring- not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of abraham, who is the father of us all.” In the King James Version of the Bible it says,”Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.” From what we read it really does seem like all we need is faith, this is one of the plain and precious truths that was lost/removed from the Bible in the many years of Apostasy after the death of Christ’s Apostles. But luckily when the gospel of Jesus Christ was Restored through Joseph Smith he revised this verse, the Joseph Smith Translation of this verse is, “therefore ye are justified of faith and works, through grace, to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to them only who are of the law, but to them who are of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.”
We told this man about this and he just couldn’t accept it. SO we continued to speak and testify to him.
We learn in 2nd Nephi 26:13 that we can bring might works/miracles by our faith. That is true and as Christians we are united in that belief. That’s why it is so important for us to continue building faith. If we ever are dwindling in faith then we need to do some good works, because we can bring faith through works also! And if we continue to have good works our faith will continue to build and if we have good faith then our works will also build!
A wise teacher once told me that I should master Moroni 8, and all this talking about faith reminds me a part in the chapter. In verses 23-26 it says,”But it is mockery before God, denying the mercies of Christ, and the power of his Holy Spirit, and putting trust in dead works.
24 Behold, my son, this thing ought not to be; for repentance is unto them that are under condemnation and under the curse of a broken law.
25 And the first fruits of repentance is baptism; and baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins;
26 And the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost,which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God.
This truly is the missionary purpose with an action outline of conversion. First you build your faith by reading the words of God, praying and surrounding yourself with good things and good people. And then once faith is established the action that is provoked is repentance. Once we repent, the “first fruits” will be baptism! And the only reason that baptism is even a fruit is because you qualify yourself to be baptized, or to partake of the sacrament, which is why your sins are washed away. When you have no sins anymore you become meek and once that happens you inherit the holy ghost.
With all that being said, yes we are saved by our own faith, because if you truly have faith in Christ then you will repent and naturally follow the gospel and live it. Our faith is manifest in our works.
So in closing, if anyone ever tells you that all you need to do is believe in Christ, then agree, and show them how a true believer believes.