Jump to content

Stephen Robinson on after all we can do -- and sidenote on BOM historicity


Recommended Posts

I'm interested on the thoughts here on this. Did any of you attend Stephen Robinson's talk on grace at BYU last week? I loved it.

In his book, originally, he made the argument that 2 Ne 25:33 "after all we can do"  should be read "apart from what we can do" implying a full reliance on grace and regarding "all that we can do" with a bit of sarcasm (sarcasm is the wrong word but you get the point I think--it's trying to demean the concept of all we can do). 

I've been a big fan of Stephen Robinson, but I've only been half way convinced he is right on that. "Right" not meaning doctrinally correct, but "right" meaning that is what the original author intended. After all, Nephi was big on works. 

But in this talk last week, he brought up Alma 24:11 where Ammon uses a similar phrase "all we could do" and in this case it's obvious he's using "all we could do" in that way. 

http://www.churchistrue.com/blog/stephen-robinson-on-mormon-doctrine-of-grace/ 

He said he's tried for years to get the brethren to add a footnote to that to reference Alma 24:11.

"Instead we have a footnote to James.  I think that’s the most egregious example in the scriptures of manipulating doctrine by footnote."

hah. Classic Stephen Robinson. Love that man.

Couple questions here that I think are very interesting.

1. Do you think Robinson is right that the original author of 2 Ne 25:33 meant it that way, and thus would be extremely frustrated at the way most LDS have interpreted it.

2. Is this important for BOM authorship analysis? ie the idea that we have intertextuality in the text that seems obvious now, yet no one seems to have noticed for 150 years. 

 

 

 

Edited by churchistrue
Link to comment
10 minutes ago, Duncan said:

is there a link anywhere to his original talk at BYU, from last week?

No unfortunately. Hoping the Wheatley Institute eventually publishes the presentations. Many were excellent, especially Terryl Givens and Adam Miller. Though I saw Ralph Hancock in n attendance, and I'm sure he'll disagree. 

Link to comment
15 minutes ago, Duncan said:

is there a link anywhere to his original talk at BYU, from last week?

I don't have a link to his recent talk, but his original discussion is at Robinson, Believing Christ: The Parable of the Bicycle and Other Good News (Deseret Book, 1992), 91-92 (91, “regardless of all we can do”); cf. Robert Millet, After All We Can Do . . . Grace Works (Deseret Book, 2001); both cited by Joe Spencer, An Other Testament (Salt Press, 2012), 94-95.

Link to comment
1 hour ago, churchistrue said:

..........................................................

In his book, originally, he made the argument that 2 Ne 25:33 "after all we can do"  should be read "apart from what we can do" implying a full reliance on grace and regarding "all that we can do" with a bit of sarcasm (sarcasm is the wrong word but you get the point I think--it's trying to demean the concept of all we can do). 

I've been a big fan of Stephen Robinson, but I've only been half way convinced he is right on that. "Right" not meaning right, doctrinally, but "right" meaning that is what the original author intended. After all, Nephi was big on works

Jesus was also big on works, and it always amazes me that we ignore Jesus during all these discussions of grace.

Matt 16:27 "he shall reward every man according to his works."  John 5:29 "And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."  Cf. Matt 5:16, 7:16, 13:23, 25:40, Luke 6:35, John 3:21, 8:39, 14:15.

Luther hated it, but we need desperately to read James on grace and works for a balanced appraisal.  Bear in mind that James was the brother of Jesus.

Quote

But in this talk last week, he brought up Alma 24:11 where Ammon uses a similar phrase "all we could do" and in this case it's obvious he's using "all we could do" in that way. ..........................................

1. Do you think Robinson is right that the original author of 2 Ne 25:33 meant it that way, and thus would be extremely frustrated at the way most LDS have interpreted it.

2. Is this important for BOM authorship analysis? ie the idea that we have intertextuality in the text that seems obvious now, yet no one seems to have noticed for 150 years. 

Of course we have intertextuality there, and in that case Nephi is quoting his brother Jacob (a quote reversed in accord with Seidel's Law), as pointed out by Book of Mormon Central, “Why Does Nephi State that We Are Saved by Grace ‘After All We Can Do’? (2 Nephi 25:23),” KnoWhy #371, Oct 10, 2017, online at https://knowhy.bookofmormoncentral.org/content/why-does-nephi-state-that-we-are-saved-by-grace-“after-all-we-can-do .  

Jacob in 2 Nephi 10:24 "reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved."

We also need to read Paul in Ephesians 6:13 (ISV), "For this reason, take up the whole armor of God so that you may be able to take a stand whenever evil comes. And when you have done everything you could, you will be able to stand firm. [καὶ ἅπαντα κατεργασάμενοι]"

In law a deal is sometimes spoken of as consisting of an offer, an acceptance, and a consideration.  However, just because you make a free offer doesn't mean that I accept it.  So, is faith required to accept the free gift of grace?  And is faith a "work"?  Is it a "consideration"?  And  is faith without works as dead as a body without a soul?

Brant Gardner's suggests that the "after all we can do" refers to centuries of observance of the Law of Moses, i. e., "after" being sequential in time, with the Law of Moses being the type which looks forward to the antitype which fulfills the Law.[1]  As Brad Wilcox has put it: "Christ is not waiting at the finish line once we have done “all we can do” (2 Ne. 25:23). He is with us every step of the way."[2]


[1] Spencer, An Other Testament, 94‑95, citing Brant Gardner, Second Witness, I:343-344.

[2] Wilcox, “His Grace is Sufficient,” BYU Devotional Address, July 12, 2011, published in BYU Today, devotional address at BYU (Winter 2012), online at http://magazine.byu.edu/article/his-grace-is- sufficient/, citing Bruce Hafen, The Broken Heart (SLC: Deseret Book, 1989), 155.

Edited by Robert F. Smith
Link to comment

I like Robinson's take on it.  I don't know if it's what Nephi intended, but I do believe it's doctrinally correct.

After all we can do implies that Christ's grace does not kick in until we have done all we can. That's doctrinally false.  Christ's grace covers us the moment we enter a saving covenant with Him and as long as we stay within that covenant.  

All we can really do is to have faith in Christ and repent of our sins when we mess up and if we sincerely do that for our whole lives, we are saved by Christ's grace.

Link to comment
2 hours ago, churchistrue said:

1. Do you think Robinson is right that the original author of 2 Ne 25:33 meant it that way, and thus would be extremely frustrated at the way most LDS have interpreted it.

2. Is this important for BOM authorship analysis? ie the idea that we have intertextuality in the text that seems obvious now, yet no one seems to have noticed for 150 years. 

 

Have a post coming up on this to T&S. I don't buy Robinson here although he's become quite influential among some. I think he neglects the role of the Law of Moses and their ordinances as a background. He's reading it through a very Protestant lens. I understand why some do that especially given the influence of Arminian theology on the style of translation of the Book of Mormon. But I think he goes too far.

Edited by clarkgoble
Link to comment
2 hours ago, churchistrue said:

I'm interested on the thoughts here on this. Did any of you attend Stephen Robinson's talk on grace at BYU last week? I loved it.

In his book, originally, he made the argument that 2 Ne 25:33 "after all we can do"  should be read "apart from what we can do" implying a full reliance on grace and regarding "all that we can do" with a bit of sarcasm (sarcasm is the wrong word but you get the point I think--it's trying to demean the concept of all we can do). 

I've been a big fan of Stephen Robinson, but I've only been half way convinced he is right on that. "Right" not meaning doctrinally correct, but "right" meaning that is what the original author intended. After all, Nephi was big on works. 

But in this talk last week, he brought up Alma 24:11 where Ammon uses a similar phrase "all we could do" and in this case it's obvious he's using "all we could do" in that way. 

http://www.churchistrue.com/blog/stephen-robinson-on-mormon-doctrine-of-grace/ 

He said he's tried for years to get the brethren to add a footnote to that to reference Alma 24:11.

"Instead we have a footnote to James.  I think that’s the most egregious example in the scriptures of manipulating doctrine by footnote."

hah. Classic Stephen Robinson. Love that man.

Couple questions here that I think are very interesting.

1. Do you think Robinson is right that the original author of 2 Ne 25:33 meant it that way, and thus would be extremely frustrated at the way most LDS have interpreted it.

2. Is this important for BOM authorship analysis? ie the idea that we have intertextuality in the text that seems obvious now, yet no one seems to have noticed for 150 years. 

I think "apart from all we can do" implies that we are fully applying our wherewithall, which I think is proven to be insufficient for salvation according to both verses.

Link to comment

I like Blake Oster's take on this verse as being "one of the most misinterpreted scriptures in the LDS canon." He goes on to say "This scripture is frequently interpreted in LDS discourses to mean that we can be saved only after we have done everything in our power that we can do on our own. Thus, after I have done all that I can, and only then, God will do the rest ... Such a view in fact enshrines human effort as the condition of earning grace -- a contradiction in terms -- and makes salvation impossible for the simple but decisive reason that no mere mortal has ever done all that he or she can do. If we have to do all that we can do before we receive saving grace, then we will never receive such grace" (Exploring Mormon Thought; The Problems of Theism and the Love of God, p222).

Does Elder Bednar express a similar idea in his April 2015 conference talk? "Our works and desires alone do not and cannot save us. 'After all we can do' (2 Nephi 25:23), we are made whole only through the mercy and grace available through the Savior's infinite and eternal atoning sacrifice."

I think Nephi was trying to underscore the fact that even after we have done everything within our power possible to obtain salvation, it is still ultimately and only God's grace that can and will save us. To my 21st century occidental brain, it would have been more clear if Nephi (or Joseph) had  flipped the phrases in the sentence to read "for we know that after all we can do, it is still by grace that we are saved" but I do believe that was nonetheless Nephi's doctrinal intent.

Link to comment
9 minutes ago, Derl Sanderson said:

I like Blake Oster's take on this verse as being "one of the most misinterpreted scriptures in the LDS canon." He goes on to say "This scripture is frequently interpreted in LDS discourses to mean that we can be saved only after we have done everything in our power that we can do on our own. Thus, after I have done all that I can, and only then, God will do the rest ... Such a view in fact enshrines human effort as the condition of earning grace -- a contradiction in terms -- and makes salvation impossible for the simple but decisive reason that no mere mortal has ever done all that he or she can do. If we have to do all that we can do before we receive saving grace, then we will never receive such grace" (Exploring Mormon Thought; The Problems of Theism and the Love of God, p222).

Does Elder Bednar express a similar idea in his April 2015 conference talk? "Our works and desires alone do not and cannot save us. 'After all we can do' (2 Nephi 25:23), we are made whole only through the mercy and grace available through the Savior's infinite and eternal atoning sacrifice."

I think Nephi was trying to underscore the fact that even after we have done everything within our power possible to obtain salvation, it is still ultimately and only God's grace that can and will save us. To my 21st century occidental brain, it would have been more clear if Nephi (or Joseph) had  flipped the phrases in the sentence to read "for we know that after all we can do, it is still by grace that we are saved" but I do believe that was nonetheless Nephi's doctrinal intent.

I have heard this verse interpreted as saying "we are saved by grace, despite all we can do".  I like that way of seeing it.

Link to comment
4 hours ago, churchistrue said:

1. Do you think Robinson is right that the original author of 2 Ne 25:33 meant it that way, and thus would be extremely frustrated at the way most LDS have interpreted it.

2. Is this important for BOM authorship analysis? ie the idea that we have intertextuality in the text that seems obvious now, yet no one seems to have noticed for 150 years. 

It seems people don't want to accept what the Book of Mormon teaches so they try to change what the text means.
Not to worry. It is enforced again in Moroni 10: 32 - "Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves
of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength,
then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect
in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God
."

Notice the key if/then statement.  If you don't do the first part, then his grace is not sufficient for you.  Some have
referred to this as the Impossible Mormon Gospel.

Also, this life is the time to prepare to meet God. There is no chance in the spirit world (Alma 34:32).

Jim

Link to comment
14 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

What do you mean by "wherewithall," and how can we be "reconciled" unto God?

I see it as all our ability/capability/means (intelligence, which is inherently or innately ours, and agency, which God gave us in the Garden of Eden--together I refer to these as our mortal will). We cannot do all we can without using all we have to do it with. Figuratively, in terms of "redemption" it is "money" (which is woefully insufficient). We are reconciled to God, or saved, by giving our wherewithal to Christ, who makes up for the lack. When we give or submit our will to Christ, which is all we can do, we are saved.

Link to comment

I think Alma's statement about this life being a preparation to meet God, only applies to those who have been taught about Christ . The vast majority of humans who have inhabited earth have had NO chance in this life to live according to Christ's gospel. If they are to be forever damned , that is too Calvinist for me. Either that or " preparing to meet God " is a whole lot simpler than I think.

Link to comment
2 hours ago, CV75 said:

I see it as all our ability/capability/means (intelligence, which is inherently or innately ours, and agency, which God gave us in the Garden of Eden--together I refer to these as our mortal will). We cannot do all we can without using all we have to do it with. Figuratively, in terms of "redemption" it is "money" (which is woefully insufficient). We are reconciled to God, or saved, by giving our wherewithal to Christ, who makes up for the lack. When we give or submit our will to Christ, which is all we can do, we are saved.

When Mormons take an oath to give everything they have to God and to the building up of the Kingdom of God -- including their lives, if need be -- is that part of that "wherewithall"?  Does this include acts of charity/compassion, which the Jews call tzedaka?  And are these the "works" by which we show our true "faith"?

Link to comment
3 hours ago, strappinglad said:

I think Alma's statement about this life being a preparation to meet God, only applies to those who have been taught about Christ . The vast majority of humans who have inhabited earth have had NO chance in this life to live according to Christ's gospel. If they are to be forever damned , that is too Calvinist for me. Either that or " preparing to meet God " is a whole lot simpler than I think.

When the term “ this life” is understood in the context of the apostle Peter’s teachings on the salvation of the dead, and the substantial further light and knowledge shed on the same subject as found in sections 76 and 138 of the Doctrine and Covenants, it becomes clear the expression “this life” is speaking of mortality, specifically meaning both life in the flesh on earth and life in the spirit world  prior to the resurrection and the final judgement. 

It is to be understood that as long as time on earth remains to perform proxy work in the temples for the dead, as far as the demands of God’s justice are concerned the spirits of the departed dead in the spirit world are dealt with as if they are still living on the earth in the flesh. And as surprising to you as it may seem, this state and of mercy is extended not only to those who never had the opportunity to hear and embrace the gospel in the flesh, but it is even extended to those who rejected or rebelled against the gospel of Christ. This means that a meaningful measure of mercy, repentance and time for improvement is even available to those who squandered their opportunity to lay hold on the saving mercies of Christ on earth. You can see for yourself...

30 But behold, from among the righteous, he organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men; and thus was the gospel preached to the dead.

31 And the chosen messengers went forth to declare the acceptable day of the Lord and proclaim liberty to the captives who were bound, even unto all who would repent of their sins and receive the gospel.

32 Thus was the gospel preached to those who had died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets.

33 These (including those who rejected the prophets) were taught faith in God, repentance from sin, vicarious baptism for the remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands,

34 And all other principles of the gospel that were necessary for them to know in order to qualify themselves that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

Edited by Bobbieaware
Link to comment
5 hours ago, theplains said:

Also, this life is the time to prepare to meet God. There is no chance in the spirit world (Alma 34:32).

This I disagree with. My take is that this life, this second estate, must include time in the spirit world up until the resurrection. There would be no point of Christ going to those spirits of Noah's time otherwise.

Link to comment
3 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

When Mormons take an oath to give everything they have to God and to the building up of the Kingdom of God -- including their lives, if need be -- is that part of that "wherewithall"?  Does this include acts of charity/compassion, which the Jews call tzedaka?  And are these the "works" by which we show our true "faith"?

I would say yes to the first, and that covenanting and keeping the covenants are how I show my faith in and love for the Lord. To the second, I would also say yes, recognizing that human love transforms into charity when touched by grace, which is on the Lord’s terms (the pure love of Christ is bestowed upon the true followers of Christ, Moroni 7:47-48). I think that those who make and keep covenants according to the light they possess from any religious tradition receive grace, the plan being that they continue to do so until they receive a fulness (D&C 93:20).

Link to comment
32 minutes ago, CV75 said:

I would say yes to the first, and that covenanting and keeping the covenants are how I show my faith in and love for the Lord. To the second, I would also say yes, recognizing that human love transforms into charity when touched by grace, which is on the Lord’s terms (the pure love of Christ is bestowed upon the true followers of Christ, Moroni 7:47-48). I think that those who make and keep covenants according to the light they possess from any religious tradition receive grace, the plan being that they continue to do so until they receive a fulness (D&C 93:20).

Is that the way you interpret St. Paul, "They who have not the Law are a law unto themselves." (Rom 2:14)

Link to comment
9 hours ago, theplains said:

It seems people don't want to accept what the Book of Mormon teaches so they try to change what the text means. Not to worry. It is enforced again in Moroni 10: 32 - "Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God."

Notice the key if/then statement.  If you don't do the first part, then his grace is not sufficient for you.  Some have referred to this as the Impossible Mormon Gospel.

Also, this life is the time to prepare to meet God. There is no chance in the spirit world (Alma 34:32).

I tend to think that those, like Robinson, who verge a tad too close to Protestant conceptions of grace for my taste, do miss these sorts of scriptures. However we should also note that we can talk about several functions of grace in the Book of Mormon. One is to get rid of the effects of Adam's fall so that we're all free and not bound by Adam's transgression. The second is his promise that if we turn our hearts over to him we'll be saved. The third is the transforming effect of grace where if we choose to take up Christ he transforms us into the kind of person he is. Effectively that's all Moroni is saying. If we deny ungodliness and turn to Christ then he can transform us. Now that's a denial we must constantly repeat. But it does happen.

As for Alma 34, I think not everything had been revealed to Alma and Amulek. (Let's cut Amulek a break - he'd only joined Alma a few years earlier) So the knowledge of work for the dead in the spirit world doesn't appear to be known. However his point is just that we don't change who we are. You can't at the last minute change. Sanctification is a process and if you don't want to do it now you won't really be able to change your person there. So the point he's teaching is correct. 

Getting back to Robinson, there's an argument one can make that the "after all you can do" is "be reconciled to God." However I tend to think that first grace is what empowers us to keep the commandments but second the chapter is emphasizing the place of the law of Moses. That is everyone focuses in on verse 23 but neglect the next two verses. I tend to see a lot of parallelism going on at play.

it is by grace that we are saved                              

                          after all we can do

we believe in Christ

                          we keep the law of Moses

look forward with steadfastness unto Christ       

                          until the law shall be fulfilled

we are made alive in Christ because of our faith

                          we keep the law because of the commandments.

 

Just something to ponder and a place where I think Robinson's more Luther-like take runs aground.

Link to comment
14 hours ago, churchistrue said:

I'm interested on the thoughts here on this. Did any of you attend Stephen Robinson's talk on grace at BYU last week? I loved it.

In his book, originally, he made the argument that 2 Ne 25:33 "after all we can do"  should be read "apart from what we can do" implying a full reliance on grace and regarding "all that we can do" with a bit of sarcasm (sarcasm is the wrong word but you get the point I think--it's trying to demean the concept of all we can do). 

I've been a big fan of Stephen Robinson, but I've only been half way convinced he is right on that. "Right" not meaning doctrinally correct, but "right" meaning that is what the original author intended. After all, Nephi was big on works. 

But in this talk last week, he brought up Alma 24:11 where Ammon uses a similar phrase "all we could do" and in this case it's obvious he's using "all we could do" in that way. 

http://www.churchistrue.com/blog/stephen-robinson-on-mormon-doctrine-of-grace/ 

He said he's tried for years to get the brethren to add a footnote to that to reference Alma 24:11.

"Instead we have a footnote to James.  I think that’s the most egregious example in the scriptures of manipulating doctrine by footnote."

hah. Classic Stephen Robinson. Love that man.

Couple questions here that I think are very interesting.

1. Do you think Robinson is right that the original author of 2 Ne 25:33 meant it that way, and thus would be extremely frustrated at the way most LDS have interpreted it.

2. Is this important for BOM authorship analysis? ie the idea that we have intertextuality in the text that seems obvious now, yet no one seems to have noticed for 150 years. 

 

 

 

Look.

Suppose you accidentally or deliberately hurt someone.  You punch someone in anger or shoot them.

Are you ever going to do feel forgiven if you have NOT done "all that you can do" to make it better??

To me it's just common sense.

You accidentally kill a child crossing the street.  There is NOTHING you can do to fix it.  You cannot make it better.

NOW you can still feel forgiven because you are forgiven EVEN AFTER ALL you can do.

THAT is the whole point - for the scripture to give you comfort.  KNOWING that you are even forgiven AFTER all you can possibly do as a human being is what gives us the comfort we need for the atonement to be effective in our lives.

I am talking psychology and the usefulness of the belief in our lives- and mitigating that in any way reduces the effectiveness of the belief in our total forgiveness.

 

Link to comment
22 minutes ago, SamIam said:

Perhaps if we expand on the meaning; there are two places in the Book of Mormon this ideology is put forth.  I always anticipate that when I find something that seems incomplete that if I look long enough or hard enough then I will find where scripture explains scripture.  This is one such example where that is very much the case. 

The first example and one most referenced is:

This verse contributes meaning to the above and is found in:

The essence is that it will take "all we can do" to repent of our sins for it is by repentance that we are "reconciled unto God" (2 Nephi 25:23) and repentance is the requirement to "take away our stain" (Alma 24:11).  In other words the process of overcoming the natural man, full of sin and wickedness takes a full and complete effort, everything we can do, in order to put ourselves in a position to receive God's greatest blessings. True repentance embodies both sides of the equation and where I think anyone who tries to separate this concept into a works versus grace discussion fails. It is not a dissected doctrine that can stand alone on one leg but requires both sides to be accurate. The ideology is not about works and earning a place, but that we will be changing our performances to do more of the works of Christ as a natural out pouring of our conversion which is initiated and maintained by ongoing repentance. These efforts then allow the Grace of God to be manifest in our behalf.

Did not see this- exactly right imo.

Link to comment
22 hours ago, churchistrue said:

I'm interested on the thoughts here on this. Did any of you attend Stephen Robinson's talk on grace at BYU last week? I loved it.

In his book, originally, he made the argument that 2 Ne 25:33 "after all we can do"  should be read "apart from what we can do" implying a full reliance on grace and regarding "all that we can do" with a bit of sarcasm (sarcasm is the wrong word but you get the point I think--it's trying to demean the concept of all we can do). 

I've been a big fan of Stephen Robinson, but I've only been half way convinced he is right on that. "Right" not meaning doctrinally correct, but "right" meaning that is what the original author intended. After all, Nephi was big on works. 

But in this talk last week, he brought up Alma 24:11 where Ammon uses a similar phrase "all we could do" and in this case it's obvious he's using "all we could do" in that way. 

http://www.churchistrue.com/blog/stephen-robinson-on-mormon-doctrine-of-grace/ 

He said he's tried for years to get the brethren to add a footnote to that to reference Alma 24:11.

"Instead we have a footnote to James.  I think that’s the most egregious example in the scriptures of manipulating doctrine by footnote."

hah. Classic Stephen Robinson. Love that man.

Couple questions here that I think are very interesting.

1. Do you think Robinson is right that the original author of 2 Ne 25:33 meant it that way, and thus would be extremely frustrated at the way most LDS have interpreted it.

2. Is this important for BOM authorship analysis? ie the idea that we have intertextuality in the text that seems obvious now, yet no one seems to have noticed for 150 years. 

 

 

 

The interpretation of 2 Nephi 25:23 that concludes a man or woman can obtain God’s saving grace only after they have expended every possible human effort to become righteous is incorrect. All one needs to do is examine the entire verse closely and also view it within the context of the verses that precede and follow it and Nephi’s intended meaning becomes clear.

Verse 20 And now, my brethren, I have spoken plainly that ye cannot err. And as the Lord God liveth that brought Israel up out of the land of Egypt, and gave unto Moses power that he should heal the nations after they had been bitten by the poisonous serpents, if they would cast their eyes unto the serpent which he did raise up before them, and also gave him power that he should smite the rock and the water should come forth; yea, behold I say unto you, that as these things are true, and as the Lord God liveth, there is none other name given under heaven save it be this Jesus Christ, of which I have spoken, whereby man can be saved.

Commentary: Verse 20 makes a clear point that the only way any human being can be saved is through faith in Jesus Christ.

Verse 23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

Commentary: The opening portion of verse 23 tells us Nephi’s most fervent desire is to persuade his children and family to believe in Christ and and be reconciled to God the Father (receive a remission of their sins by means of  the atonement) through Christ.

Verse 26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

Commentary:: Verse 26 is a chiasmic restatement of verse 23. Nephi is attempting to use every means at his disposal to persuade his people to understand there is only one way for a man or women to be declared righteous before God and that is by having living faith in Christ and receiving a remission of sins through his atoning sacrifice.

So within the context of the chapter, what does Nephi mean when he says,  “for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do?”

Very simple. He’s saying after a man or woman exerts every possible human effort in order to become a righteous person before God, it’s still not good enough, they will still be found wanting. For no matter how hard someone might try to be found acceptable to God and obtain salvation apart from the gospel, the only way they can be saved and be declared righteous before God is to believe in Christ and receive forgiveness through him. Why? because even the very best people are still sinners who desperately need Christ and his forgiveness. King Benjamin taught the exact same doctrine...

21 I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants. (Mosiah 2)

In other words, no matter how hard even the best of us try, to be good we are still sinners who need to come unto Christ and receive his forgiveness.

 

Edited by Bobbieaware
Link to comment
11 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Is that the way you interpret St. Paul, "They who have not the Law are a law unto themselves." (Rom 2:14)

Yes, as no Gentile would do by nature the things contained in the Law of Moses, which is written in no one's heart.

Link to comment
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...