How does one honor the sacred gift of Christ's sacrifice in Gethsemane and on the cross? We begin by recognizing our complete unworthiness of such a gift! We come to realize that no matter how hard we try... no matter how much good we do... it could never be enough to bring one into perfect alignment with God. We embrace the truth taught in numerous places throughout the scriptures, illustrated here by Paul.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
In other words, it is grace, not works, which saves us! Understanding this truth is foundational to honoring His sacrifice... however, it is not all that one must comprehend.
Grace is ALL about the Savior's goodness. How do we then receive the gift and honor His sacrifice? Let's look at another truth taught in countless places throughout the scriptures, once again, illustrated here by Paul.
"For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins. For ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise."
Grace and works are companion principles which combine to paint a complete picture of God's love and desire for His children. Either principle on it's own is incomplete and unbalanced. When we focus too much on grace... we begin to believe that our own diligent effort isn't required. When we swing to the other side of the pendulum and focus to much on our own effort, we diminish the incomparable gift of the Savior!
Because God loves me, He gave His only begotten Son as a sacrifice for my sins. Because I love Him, I rely completely and wholly on this magnificent gift. Because He loves me, He expects me to give my best effort in "doing the will of God". Because I love Him, I strive to be obedient to His will and pattern my life and my works after that of the Savior.
Without grace, the gulf between His perfection and my weakness would be impassable. Without my own good works, I would fail to receive His gift and there would remain no more sacrifice for my sins.
"It would mock the Savior's suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross for us to expect that He should transform us into angelic beings with no real effort on our part. Rather, we seek His grace to complement and reward our most diligent efforts."