On a plane trip awhile back, I got into a conversation about spiritual matters with the person sitting next to me. Once he found out that I believed that I didn’t have to do anything to work myself back into God’s favor but that Jesus did everything for me, he responded with the well-worn argument: “If you tell people they don’t have to do anything, then people will just run amuck in sin.”
My response caught him off-guard. Earlier I had noticed the wedding ring on his finger and from our previous small talk I had learned he was on a business trip. So, in response, I asked him: “Does that mean that tonight you are going to hire a prostitute to come to your motel room? There’s no way that your wife will ever find out.” Before he became too upset with me, I quickly continued: “I don’t think you are going to do that. But I was just applying your logic to your relationship between you and your wife. Love is stronger than law. I love Jesus for all that he has done for me. The last thing I want to do is hurt the person who rescued me. Love is stronger than law.”
That man, at least, saw my point, albeit somewhat reluctantly. And even though some might consider my illustration crude, I think it makes my point. Just as offensive as it was to that man for me to even suggest that I could assume that he would be unfaithful to his wife because there was no “law” restraining him, so also it is offensive to Christians to suggest that because we don’t think that we have to do anything to be saved, that then we will feel no restraint in sinning.
With minor variations, that is what many Mormons have told me. Spencer W. Kimball made this point in his book, Miracle of Forgiveness. After describing the teaching that man is saved alone by the grace of God and that belief alone in Jesus is all that is needed as “one of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan”, he goes on to say: “It could give license for sin.” (p.207)
But that is not what genuine faith produces. Faith creates a tremendous love in people – a love that doesn’t want to go against God. In fact, I would submit that people who believe that they are saved alone by the grace of God are more restrained. They are more restrained because love is stronger than law.