As we were leaving the CostCo parking lot a few weeks ago, I saw a bumper sticker that said, "If we can earn it, why did He die?" I felt as though it was a direct hit on the mis-informed notion that as Latter-day Saints we somehow believe that we can earn our way to heaven. And it got me thinking about the balance between grace and works, between justice and mercy.
I know that our Father in Heaven has blessings for us that are ours for the taking if only we are obedient to His commandments and are willing to follow his principles, to keep our covenants and to live His doctrine. There are, in fact, blessings that can be earned. And there's a big bucket (how I picture it, anyway) with our name on it, ready to be poured out into our lives. But we have to do our part.
Then there's the blessing of Salvation, and that is something that we cannot earn. It is a gift, and you can't earn a gift. This is where the delicate balance between doing all we can and the infinite grace of God come together. Even doing EVERYTHING, we still would fall short. And really, who can do EVERYTHING? Though surely as a girl, not for the lack of trying!
The gift of exaltation cannot be earned, though doing our part now does mean that we will become more pure, that we will become more like Him. We will be more ready to accept His gift as it was intended to be given.