Central to Latter-day Saint doctrine is the belief in grace, the saving and strengthening power of Jesus Christ.
Mormons believe that all human beings are on this earth to learn, grow, and progress, and ultimately return to the presence of God. However, this outcome is dependent on the grace of Jesus Christ and obedience to His teachings.
To Latter-day Saints, “grace” refers to the power of Christ to rescue human beings from the effects of death and sin. In other words, the grace made possible by Christ’s atonement enables all mankind to overcome death (through the power of the resurrection) and sin (through the power of forgiveness and sanctification). By this grace, individuals can also receive relief from trials or divine help and strength to overcome challenges, weaknesses, temptations, and sins, and begin life anew.
Without grace, or Christ’s divine gift, mankind could not be resurrected from death or overcome the inevitable effects of sin. However, Mormons believe that individuals also have an important part to play. According to Latter-day Saint beliefs, God desires not only to save His children from death, but also to help them grow and become like Him. To be true “partakers of the divine nature,”[i] then, individuals must choose to access Christ’s grace and be changed by its influence. Or in the Apostle James’ formulation, they show their faith in Christ’s grace “by [their] works.”[ii] The Book of Mormon, in conjunction with Christ’s call to faithful action in Matthew 7:21, further teaches that that each individual’s own efforts are necessary, though not sufficient, for salvation; for even “after all we can do,” it is only “by grace that we are saved” (2 Nephi 25:23).