Mormons and Grace
It is commonly believed that Mormons don’t believe in grace or that they believe you can get into heaven on works alone. This is not true.
What does this mean exactly? Mormons know you can’t be resurrected without the Savior’s help, which was granted through His atonement for us. You can’t repent of your sins and be forgiven without the atonement of Jesus Christ. Grace is what allows us to be resurrected after our deaths, so we can live in Heaven.
Many churches say no act is ever required to get into Heaven, and yet those churches nearly always say you must accept Jesus as your Savior-which is an act. The question really comes down to, then, how many acts are required, not whether any are required at all.
The Book of Mormon clarifies the Mormon point of view on this complicated subject: For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (2 Nephi 25:23) A few verses later, the writer adds: “we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments.”
Let’s think about what all this means. To a Mormon, Grace means to be resurrected, to live forever, and to be able to be forgiven of our sins. However, the verses quoted above state that we’re saved by grace after all we can do. Does this mean we can work our way into Heaven, regardless of whether or not we accept Jesus as our Savior? Of course not. It means grace is given as a free gift, with absolutely no strings attached, no acts required, not even the single act most churches say is required. However, that free gift does not mean that once we’ve said we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are then free to do anything we want. A person with real faith will naturally want to keep God’s commandments. God gave commandments. Jesus left no question that there are things required of believers. Doing those things without faith won’t get you into heaven, but doing them is a demonstration of your faith. Just as those who believe touching a hot stove will burn them don’t touch hot stoves, those who believe in God take His commandments seriously.
The Bible itself speaks of this so clearly there can be no question:
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
(James 2, King James Version of the Bible)
The Bible really leaves no room for debate on this subject. One must live the gospel in order to have real faith. Faith without works is a dead faith, and the gospel is a living gospel.
While Mormons teach that without grace, we have nothing at all, they believe that eternal life is different from living forever. To learn more about eternal life, read what Mormons have to say on the atonement.