Grace is at the core of the gospel

I’ve long been a fan of Brad Wilcox’s “His Grace Is Sufficient” talk at BYU, mostly because of the way it so forcefully teaches grace without resorting to the sort of cheap grace that turns Jesus’ suffering and death into little more than a cosmic get-out-of-jail-free card. The more I’ve studied LDS Christianity, the more I’ve become convinced that grace is at its core — despite a culturally powerful “worthiness narrative” that tells us only our extensive efforts can make us qualify for grace. There’s almost a fear in the church (including among many leaders) against shouting “Grace!” too loudly lest we become among those Christians who believe there is nothing for us to do.

But as Wilcox makes clear, grace is more than the unmerited favor that it is so often described as. It is also an empowering force — a force that not only allows us to hear the invitation of Christ but also to act on it as we follow His example. It is at the core of becoming like Christ and, ultimately, in becoming able to enjoy the everlasting life we call exaltation.

All of this is merely a roundabout way of introducing what I thought was the most outstanding talk of this weekend’s General Conference. Like Wilcox, Elder Dale G. Renlund gave a talk that “gets grace” (although he often uses the word “mercy”). I can’t recommend it highly enough:

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