Brigham Young University (BYU) is operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often mistakenly called the “Mormon Church.” As part of their undergraduate coursework, BYU students take multiple semesters of spiritually uplifting, stimulating religion classes.
Here, in this column, students enrolled in scripture study classes have shared their thoughts, insights, and reflections on the New Testament and gospel of Jesus Christ in the form of letters to someone they know. In publishing these, we fulfill their desire to witness to all of us of the relevance, power, and beauty of the New Testament, and God’s plan of happiness for each of us. We invite you to take a look at their epiphanies and discoveries as they delve into the scriptures. Let us know how these may help you in your own life. Share them with a friend.
Mormonism: Faith Works and Grace
Email to my younger sister
In New Testament this week, we studied the Book of Romans. We specifically talked about the relationships between faith, works, mercy, and grace. Mercy is being spared from the punishments we deserve, and grace is when we receive what we don’t deserve. I think it is incredible how merciful our Heavenly Father is. We are so far from perfect. When we are at the Last Judgment, we won’t be recounting all the good things we did. We will be asking for forgiveness for all of our shortcomings, and God will not make us suffer the punishments we deserve, because Jesus already suffered them for us. We will be rewarded with so much more than we deserve, and I’m so grateful for it.
Although there is grace, we won’t get all the mercy without the work. This is where faith and works come in. Maybe you know that scripture that says “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:20). We have to work to earn our place in God’s Kingdom.
Related to faith and works, we talked about the birth of Protestantism. The Protestant religion was basically birthed from one scripture: Romans 1:17. Martin Luther actually added a word to the verse. It says, ‘For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” Martin Luther added the word “alone” to the end of this verse, so it’s said “The just shall live by faith alone.” I thought that was interesting that so many religions believe that faith and declaring Jesus as your savior is enough, but we really need to be continually working. When we increase work, we increase our faith, and when we increase our faith, we have the desire to increase our work.
I know that faith is so important, and that we need to work really hard to increase our faith, and to earn our place in God’s family. I’m so thankful for a merciful, loving Heavenly Father.