I just finished the book Journey to the Veil II, by John Pontius. I want to post a couple of the great quotes from this book. Grace is not a concept that the LDS understand well. Frankly, I used to get the “creeps” when I heard people talk about it, because it sounded so “protestant”. But, the truth is, once you see that grace is mentioned throughout the Book of Mormon, and come to understand it, grace is really a beautiful principle.
There is a certain mindset among us in the Church that is hostile to our spiritual growth. This is that we must by our own discipline work out our own salvation—and then “after all we can do,” somewhere at the end of our lives, Jesus Christ will get involved and make up for what we were not able to do during our lifetime, and in the end we will be “saved by grace.”
The flaw in this thinking is that it places upon us mere mortals a burden we cannot hope to carry. We feel that we must keep every commandment, do every good thing, raise perfect families, pay our tithing, and fulfill a thousand other laws and rules, all by obedience and self-discipline, as best we can. We toil and toil and wait for the day when it is finally enough, and Jesus Christ at lasts steps in and fills in our blanks. This false belief sets us up for a lifetime of struggle that isn’t going to take us where we are anticipating. The truth of how this works is that we are given choices. We know right and wrong because of the Light of Christ, which we receive throughout our lives by grace. So, it is by grace that we even know what is good and bad. It is by grace that we know what to do. Thus it is by grace that we receive faith, truth, insight, inspiration, direction, guidance, truth, and power from the beginning to the end of our lives. Then, when we make a right choice, such as to say we’re sorry, go to church, or forgive someone who doesn’t seem to deserve it, Christ dispenses more grace and we are changed. We become more like Him by His grace. We receive “grace for grace”—our grace for His grace—and we are changed in our inner man by a small degree every time we obey Christ’s voice.
Thus we live by grace every moment of every day. The falsehood is that we must be perfect, even as God is perfect, in order to be saved in the end and at last be exalted. The truth is that we are not able to self-perfect ourselves for any part of the journey. The real requirement is that we become obedient to Christ’s guiding voice, and then He changes, upgrades, and purifies us until we are like Him—until we become “perfect in Christ.” When we come to the end of our lives, having walked in His grace, having partaken of His upgrading and empowering Atonement, we will be “saved by grace”—not in that moment alone but throughout our entire lives.
Pontius, John; Pontius, Terri. Journey to the Veil II (pp. 150-151). Cedar Fort, Inc.. Kindle Edition.