The Doctrine of Christ

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Jesus’s visit to the Nephites
after His Resurrection was carefully organized to
teach us the things of greatest importance. It began with the Father
testifying to the people that Jesus was His “Beloved Son,
in whom [He was] well pleased.” Then Jesus Himself
descended and testified of His atoning
sacrifice, inviting the people to “know of a
surety” that He was the Christ by coming forth and feeling
the wound mark in His side and the prints of the nails
in His hands and feet. These testimonies
established without doubt that Jesus’s
Atonement was complete and that the Father had
fulfilled His covenant to provide a Savior. Jesus then taught
the Nephites how to obtain all the blessings of
the Father’s plan of happiness, which are made available to
us because of the Savior’s Atonement, by teaching them
the doctrine of Christ. My message today focuses
on the doctrine of Christ. The scriptures define
the doctrine of Christ as exercising faith in Jesus
Christ and His Atonement, repenting, being
baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost,
and enduring to the end. The Atonement of Christ
creates the conditions upon which we may rely upon “the
merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah,” “be
perfected in [Christ],” obtain every good thing,
and gain eternal life. The doctrine of Christ,
on the other hand, is the means–the only means–by
which we can obtain all the blessings made available to
us through Jesus’s Atonement. It is the doctrine
of Christ that allows us to access the
spiritual power that will lift us from our
current spiritual state to a state where we can become
perfected like the Savior. Of this process of rebirth,
Elder D. Todd Christofferson has taught: “Being born again,
unlike our physical birth, is more a process than an event. And engaging in that process
is the central purpose of mortality.” Let’s explore each element
of the doctrine of Christ. First, faith in Jesus
Christ and His Atonement. The prophets have
taught that faith begins by hearing the word of Christ. The words of Christ testify
of His atoning sacrifice and tell us how we may obtain
forgiveness, blessings, and exaltation. Upon hearing the
words of Christ, we exercise faith by choosing
to follow His teachings and example. To do this, Nephi taught that
we must rely “wholly upon the merits of [Christ,]
who is mighty to save.” Because Jesus was a God in
the premortal existence, lived a sinless life,
and during His Atonement satisfied the demands of
justice for you and me, He has the power
and keys to bring about the resurrection
of all men, and He made it
possible for mercy to overpower justice upon
conditions of repentance. Once we understand that
we can obtain mercy through Christ’s merits, we
are able to “have faith unto repentance.” To rely wholly upon
Christ’s merits, then, is to trust
that He did what was necessary to save us and
then act upon our belief. Faith also causes us to stop
worrying so much about what others think of us and
begin to care far more about what God thinks of us. Second, repentance. Samuel the Lamanite taught, “If
ye believe on [Christ’s] name ye will repent of
all your sins.” Repentance is a precious
gift from our Heavenly Father that is made possible
through the sacrifice of His Only Begotten Son. It is the process that
the Father has given us by which we change, or
turn, our thoughts, actions, and our very being
so that we become more and more like the Savior. It is not just for big
sins but is a daily process of self-evaluation
and improvement that helps us to overcome
our sins, our imperfections, our weaknesses, and
our inadequacies. Repentance causes us to
become “true followers” of Christ, which fills us with
love and casts out our fears. Repentance is not
a backup plan just in case our plan to
live perfectly fails. Continual repentance
is the only path that can bring us
lasting joy and enable us to return to live
with our Heavenly Father. Through repentance we become
submissive and obedient to God’s will. Now, this is not done alone. A recognition of God’s
goodness and our nothingness, combined with our best
efforts to align our behavior with God’s will, brings
grace into our lives. Grace “is divine means
of help or strength, given through the bounteous
mercy and love of Jesus Christ . . . to do good works that
[we] otherwise would not be able to maintain if left
to [our] own means.” Because repentance is
really about becoming like the Savior, which
is impossible on our own, we desperately need the
Savior’s grace in order to make necessary
changes in our lives. As we repent, we replace
our old, unrighteous behaviors, weaknesses,
imperfections, and fears with new behaviors
and beliefs that draw us closer to the Savior
and help us to become like Him. Third, baptism
and the sacrament. The prophet Mormon taught that
“the first fruits of repentance is baptism.” To be complete,
repentance must be combined with the ordinance
of baptism administered by someone who holds the
priesthood authority of God. For members of the
Church, the covenants made at baptism
and other occasions are renewed as we
partake of the sacrament. In the ordinances of
baptism and the sacrament, we covenant to keep
the commandments of the Father and the Son,
always remember Christ, and be willing to take His name (or His
work and attributes) upon us. The Savior, in return, covenants
to forgive, or remit, our sins and pour out His Spirit
more abundantly upon us. Christ also promises to
prepare us for eternal life by helping us become like Him. Ordinances and covenants are
essential within the doctrine of Christ. It is through worthily
receiving the ordinances of the priesthood and keeping
the associated covenants that the power of godliness
is manifest in our lives. Elder D. Todd Christofferson
explained that “this ‘power of godliness’ comes in
the person and by the influence of the Holy Ghost.” Fourth, the gift
of the Holy Ghost. After baptism we are given
the gift of the Holy Ghost through the ordinance
of confirmation. This gift, if we
receive it, allows us to have the constant
companionship of a God and continual access to
the grace that inherently comes with His influence. As our constant
companion, the Holy Ghost gives us additional power or
strength to keep our covenants. He also sanctifies
us, which means to make us “free from
sin, pure, clean, and holy through the
atonement of Jesus Christ.” The process of sanctification
not only cleanses us, but it also endows us with
needed spiritual gifts or divine attributes
of the Savior and changes our
very nature, such that “we have no more
disposition to do evil.” Each time we receive the
Holy Ghost into our lives through faith, repentance,
ordinances, Christlike service, and other righteous
endeavors, we are changed until step
by step, little by little we become like Christ. Fifth, enduring to the end. The prophet Nephi taught
that after receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost,
we must “endure to the end, in following the example of
the Son of the living God.” Elder Dale G. Renlund described
the process of enduring to the end as follows: “We
may be perfected by repeatedly and iteratively . . . exercising
faith in [Christ], repenting, partaking of the sacrament
to renew the covenants and blessings of baptism,
and receiving the Holy Ghost as a constant companion
to a greater degree. As we do so, we become
more like Christ and are able to endure
to the end, with all that that entails.” In other words, the
reception of the Holy Ghost and the change that
reception creates in us further builds our faith. Increased faith leads to
additional repentance. As we then
symbolically sacrifice our hearts and our sins
upon the sacrament altar, we receive the Holy Ghost
to a greater degree. Receiving the Holy Ghost
to a greater degree further moves us along the
path of being born again. As we continue in this process
and obtain all the saving ordinances and
covenants of the gospel, we receive “grace for grace”
until we receive a fulness. Brothers and sisters, as we
apply the doctrine of Christ in our lives, we are
blessed both temporally and spiritually, even in trials. Eventually we are able to “lay
hold [on] every good thing.” I testify that this process
has happened and continues to happen in my own life, step
by step, little by little. But more importantly, we must
apply the doctrine of Christ in our lives because it
provides the only path back to our Heavenly Father. It is the only way
to receive the Savior and become His
sons and daughters. In fact, the only way to be
redeemed from sin and progress spiritually is to apply
the doctrine of Christ in our lives. Alternatively, the Apostle John
taught that “whosoever . . . abideth not in the doctrine
of Christ, hath not God.” And Jesus Himself told
the Nephite Twelve that if we fail to
exercise faith in Christ, repent, be baptized,
and endure to the end, we will be “hewn down
and cast into the fire, from whence [we]
can no more return.” So how can we apply the
doctrine of Christ more fully in our lives? One way would be to make a
conscious effort each week to prepare for the sacrament
by taking some time to prayerfully consider where
we most need to improve. We could then bring a
sacrifice of at least one thing that keeps us from
being like Jesus Christ to the sacrament altar,
pleading in faith for help, asking for necessary
spiritual gifts, and covenanting to improve
during the coming week. As we do so, the Holy Ghost
will come into our lives to a greater degree, and we
will have additional strength to overcome our imperfections. I testify that Jesus Christ
is the Savior of the world and that His is the only name
by which we can be saved. All things that are good
are made available only through Him. But to actually “lay hold upon
every good thing,” including eternal life, we
must continually apply the doctrine of
Christ in our lives. In the sacred name of
Jesus Christ, amen.

 

One Response

  1. Loknarr Lhodanin Silvercloud

    August 2, 2017 6:54 am

    your "jesus" is the spirit brother of LUCIFER…… A false jesus, a false gospel, a false spirit, and this all will lead you to HELL~!!

    Reply

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