Saturday, October 18, 2008

Having Overcome Through Christ

I was teaching a lesson on the plan of salvation and Kevin Hinckley made the point that the phrase "who aovercome by faith" [50–70] is a matter of surrender, not accomplishment. That is a profound merger of a twelve step concept (KH was a professional counselor and now volunteers his time to coordinate a twelve step program for the Church locally) and the concept of grace.

I'm still digesting that thought, one which subtly sidesteps the question of works and grace for a question of faith and surrender.

There are two basic twelve step concepts here. The first is that life is beyond our control and our weaknesses are more than we can handle; that of ourselves, we can not do it.

The second is that through repentance and surrender to God, we can be saved -- if we follow-through with the necessary effort and changes (though they would not put it that way). It is packaged much differently, which has made me wonder about the differences the approach makes.

Summarized, the initial steps are:
  1. Admit or recognize that you are powerless
  2. Come to believe that a power greater than yourself can save you.
  3. Make a decision to turn your life over to God.
  4. Make a searching and fearless moral inventory.
  5. Admit to God, yourself and another human being the exact nature of your wrongs.
From an LDS viewpoint that would be:
  1. Realize that works alone can not save you.
  2. Have faith in Christ
  3. Act on the faith by deciding to turn your life over to God
  4. Be honest, look at yourself through a lens of honesty
  5. Confess your sins
  6. Repent
Etc. (after all, there are twelve steps -- and I'm only paraphrasing them).

Wikipedia summarizes the full twelve steps as follows:
  • admitting that one cannot control one's addiction or compulsion;
  • recognizing a greater power that can give strength;
  • examining past errors with the help of a sponsor (experienced member);
  • making amends for these errors;
  • learning to live a new life with a new code of behavior;
  • helping others that suffer from the same addictions or compulsions.

A twelve step program is a process of the knowledge and works that must be accomplished in order to rely entirely on grace.

That we may overcome through Christ is how a religious person might put it.

1 comment:

BrianJ said...

"who overcome by faith" [50–70] is a matter of surrender, not accomplishment.

Very nice!