Reconcile

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There is a belief among some Mormons that we are responsible for our salvation. That is we do the best that we can, then Jesus picks up the slack. To support this idea, it is common to use the following scriptures (among others):

And now, my beloved brethren, I desire that ye should remember these things, and that ye should work out your salvation with fear before God, and that ye should no more deny the coming of Christ… (Alma 34:37)

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. (2 Ne 25:23)

While reading in the Book of Mormon (which incidentally I started in the spring) last night, I came across another verse that made me ponder this idea.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, 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. (2 Ne 10:24)

The key here (and to which Nephi briefly pointed in the twenty-fifth chapter) is that we need to be reconciled to God. I have to admit that I am not an expert on the usage of the term ‘reconcile’ in the early nineteenth century, but today it has the meaning of “reestablishing a close relationship between”, “settling”, “resolving”, “bringing oneself to accept” and “making compatible or consistent”.

If the usage of the term is similar today as to what it was around 1830, perhaps the meaning of the first two verses I mentioned is not what many make them out to be. Perhaps “working out our salvation” has more to do with our heart than our actions. Perhaps “all we can do” isn’t actually a reference to physical doings after all.

5 thoughts on “Reconcile

  1. I like it Kim — We must do all we can do to reconcile with God. Reconciliation with God is much of the work we are doing as we work out our salvation. Fits nicely with John 17:3 where we learn that eternal life is to know God (which I read as actually knowing him not just knowing about him.)

  2. If we reconcile ourselves with God, our actions will reflect that. And whenever we do actions inconsistent with God’s will, we are no longer ‘reconciled’ until we repent. So I believe there is an element of action involved in reconciliation.

  3. Becoming reconcilled in our hearts certainly would influence which actions would come more naturally to us. However now that you have gotten me to think about this further, I would say that every action is preceded by a conscious decision to choose that specific action in order to become reconciled (if not already) or to remain reconciled (and avoid becoming un-reconciled). Therefore I would say our actions are a part of the reconcilliation.

  4. I believe some people overemphasize and misinterpret the phrase “after all we can do.” They reach the conclusion that the only way to be saved is to everything we are possibly capable of and then only AFTER that will Christ’s grace make up for the rest. I think this is reading too much into the words. “After all we can do,” more reasonably means that no matter how much we do for ourselves, we do not have the power to save ourselves and must rely on the grace–the atoning power–of Jesus.

    Of course repentance requires us to “do” something and true consecration requires us to give God all that we have and all that we are. The power of the Atonement doesn’t come to us only AFTER we’ve utterly exhausted our own abilities. The Atonement’s power is here for us now, not just later. It is present and meant to be enjoyed daily, as we struggle, sometimes haltingly, to proceed, line upon line and precept upon precept towards Christ and our Father.

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