Born/Hidden with Christ in God

~ A Strait and Narrow Way ~
by Don R. Hender


   What does it mean to be Hidden or Born with Christ in God? Many claim and like to fell that they are a part of being memebers with Jesus Christ in the Gospel of Christ. But what does Jesus say concerning the matter?

    ¶ "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which [who] is in heaven.
      "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
      "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
    ~ Matthew 7:21-23

This may sound and seem harsh, but it is not I who have said it. This is the words of Jesus Christ. While the Gospel and Principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ are simple and easy to understand, they are set as to and in their course of performance and behavior. The standards are set and established by God. They may not be diviated from, twisted nor conformed to or by the minds of men. It is God's way or the broad way to destruction.

    ¶ "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
      "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
    ~ Matthew 7:13-14

This was the dilemma which faced a youth born in 1805. A number of various sects of Christian religions were preaching and rallying the people to join their particular church, their brand and flavor and preferred interpretation of what was God's set path to eternal life. 'Lo here and lo there.' They would call. They each would profess to be the one and only true way and course of the Lord that men must follow to obtain eternal life and the kingdom of God. Even today, despite the various coalitions of suposed 'good will', the same is true. Each profess to be God's one true course while they dispute various doctrines and even venture to conform God's teachings to the pleasing acceptable minds of man's personal and varied acceptability. Their courses thus seem to be ever changing and varied, adapted to the winds of placating the acceptable wills of popular opinion. There is no way they all could be true and every change and difference they do insitute is a further departure from God's on singular set strait and narrow path to heaven.

Of this latter day age of multiple forms and flavors of Christianity, Christ has once again spoken, declaring that, 'They are all wrong, their creeds are an abomination in my sight, and their professors are all corrupt:'

    " . . . they teach for doctine the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof." PoGP Joseph Smith History 19

Now therein is the rise of two critical criteria in respect to the Lord's prescribed 'strait and narrow way' which men must navigate in order to enter into the kingdom of God. Most all Christian religions have chosen to slight and ignore those questions to varying degrees. The first is by what power and/or authority do they pretend to do what they do? And basically in the end they end up denying that any such power and authorized authority of God is requisite. The second concerns what is the exact avenue, road, path or way that must be adhered to? What is the 'strait and narrow way'? That is, what actual performances must be done such as baptism and then further, what is the precise standard of behavior and obedience to the laws and commandments of God must be maintained?

In the most liberal and most false and corrupt instance they do follow the philosophy of man which states 'do what you want to do', 'say what you want to say', 'be what you want to be' and 'merely confess a belief in Jesus Christ' and 'all will be well with you in the end'. Nothing could be further from the truth. Such a philosophical position is but Satan deception and Satan laughing in the face of God by the total disregaurding of there ever being such a thing as a required 'strait and narrow way' into the kingdom of God. It is exactly that great and broad way to destruction taught against by Jesus Christ.


Authorized by the Power and Authority of God


Some teach that if you but have the spirit or desire then you are called to the ministry and thereby so authorized and empowered by God. That is not what Jesus nor the Bible taught. It taught that men must be called by God and so ordained by Him. A prophet just did not suddenly decide that he want to be and was a prophet. He had to be called and specifically chosen by God. Jesus taught his disciples the following:

    "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he may give it you." ~ John 15:16

And so after that manner was the Chruch of Jesus Christ so established and administered. And the example of the Savior was taken and followed and only those who were so called and ordained by those who stood in authority to do so was the kingdom establish and administered rightfully unto the people. "And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron." (Hebrew 5:4) This meaning that he was so called and ordained by the power of God by those who stood in authority to do so.

The power and authority of God is the Priesthood of God. And the Priesthood of God is that power given to men from God that enables men to act in the name of God. Anything done by any other manner or means is not binding and does not bring men to the kingdom of God. Yes many will say they have done and do many such things in God's name, but if they have not done it by that authorized empowerment from God, God will say unto them, 'Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.' (Matthew 7:23)


The Strait Gate and Narrow Way


Again Jesus has taught clearly what it is that the strait gate and narrow way is. Remembering now that any performance unto God must be so done by the proper power and authority, let us turn to that night when Nicodemus came to the Lord with that very question at hand. Understanding the when man came to earth he was removed from the presence of God and suffered a spiritual death. Thus Jesus taught Nicodemus that, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3) To this Nicodemus enquired how it was that a man could be 'born again'. To this Jesus spoke and explained:

    "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." ~ John 3:5

Coupled with turning unto Christ by repentance of one's erroneous ways and having faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, one must be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost to be a constant and ever present guide along the 'way' or 'path'. The strait 'gate' of authoritatively authorized baptism is but the 'first step'. By entering in at that required gate way one is then presented with a path way which leads past the gate unto eternal life. It is of no benefit if one but opens and enters the gate and does no more. Thus in this connection there are three important considerations. First the performance of the representative ordinance must be performed by proper and authorized priesthood power sanctioned by God. Second baptism or birth of the water alone does not qualify a person for the kingdom of God. The bestowal of the Holy Ghost or Spirit, the 'baptism of the spirit', must also accompany the baptism by water. And Third inactivity or the absence of obedience to the laws, commandments and performances set forth by God which form that narrow pathway upon which the gate does open leave a person nowhere. One must walk and 'conform' to all the requists of God which mark the traveling of the path. We will address these separately but perhaps Nephi said it best.

    " And now, my beloved brethern, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path [that is after entering the gate of baptims by water and by the spirit], I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay, for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.
      "Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ [living the Gospel], and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life."
    2 Nephi 31:19-20

[Note: Of the three motivating factors of fear, reward, and love, Nephi only names two, the reward of the resurrection and eternal life in and through Jesus Christ and have the love of God and/or goodness. Nephi does not mention here such as the pains of hell, damnation or destruction, which also apply. But the stronger motivation factors of reward and love are those which are named. And of course faith or belief in Christ is implied as a part of the 'perfect brightness of hope.' This envolves the faith, hope and charity, which is the pure love of God, that is so often mentioned in the scriptures.]

The Gate of Baptism: 'Enter ye in at the strait gate.'

We not only have Jesus' words to Nicodemus as to the fact that baptism is required, there is Jesus' own acts of example upon which we may rely. When Jesus came to John the Baptist, who was so anointed and authorized to be in authority by the ministerings of God from his birth anounce to Zacharias by an angel and on in his life, John did protest. John's baptism was unto repentance as to the principle which accompanied the performance of baptism. And John knew that the Son of God was without sin and held a higher power than did John. But Jesus persisted and reasonsed with John that even he, the Lord and Savior of the world did need to be baptized according to the prescription of God. To John, Jesus stated the following:

    " Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness." Matthew 3:15

Born of the Water: Though Jesus was the Son of God, the great Redeemer and Savoir of the world, even the same as the Great Jehovah, God of the Old Testament; still Jesus set out his humble compliance to all the commandments and laws of God. Jesus never put himself above the Law of God. From birth he was brought to the temple at eight days and then at the time of his presentation and dedication to God, being the first born son of Mary. At the age of 12, again he was presented at the temple when he became counted as a 'man of Israel' according to the Jewish law. He kept all the feasts and performance of the Law of Moses. And in nothing did Jesus waver from compliance to the laws of God and neither must we despite any such philosophical trappings of men. Only in the false traditions and corruptions of the Jews, which the Jews did suppose upon the commandments of God, did Jesus take exception. In all this he did set the example and path for us to follow.

[Note: Some attempt to point out the 'sillyness' and unfeasibleness of such a requirement as baptism for entrance into the kingdom of God. In this they curb the Laws of God to their own intentional benefit. God's plan reaches the possibility for all to so comply before that last and great judgment day of God which will come at the end of the great Millennial Day of the Lord. If they so persist in their resistence to the Laws and Commandments of God, they \ will be lost as to the kingdom of God and they will not enter in. That all, by that ending date will be and have they opportunity to have an authorized baptism perform is logistically sound, else why are we as Christians baptized for the dead? (1 Corinthians 15:29) A better question for these 'except to God's commandment seekers' to be asked is why they are not practicing the full extent of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as so practiced by the Church of Jesus Christ as established by Jesus and his authorized apostles, such a the performing of baptism for the dead that the dead when they do arise may be judge according to the laws of the flesh. Rather they have taken to low road of the philosophy of non compliance which touts, 'eat drink and be merry, doing what we like, for tomorrow we die.' That is the old song of the Devil, of 'do what you want to do', 'say what you want to say' and 'be what you want to be' for you need not worry or concern yourself with obedience and compliance to the Laws of God as did Jesus of old.]

Now while the performance of the action of legal and authorized baptism is a necessary step, without applying the principle in life which baptism represents and also by not following through to the baptism of the spirit, one is like a race horse who is left behind at the starting gate if no further action is taken. The actual principles of both baptism of water and baptism of spirit will be spoken of shortly, but next lets include the formal performance and ordinance of the receiving of the Holy Ghost or Spirit.

Born of the Spirit. As the Apostles ministered the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people after the departure of Jesus Christ, the 8th chapter of Acts tells us the a story which illustrates the importance of also being baptized or born of the spirit and what it entails. The apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God and had sent unto Peter and John. When Peter and John came down to Samaria from Jerusalem they found that this particular group of Samaritans were properly baptized of water in the name of Jesus Christ but that they had not yet received the ordiance of the baptism of the spirit, that is of the Holy Ghost. Then they performed the official ordinance of the receiving of the Gift of the Holy Ghost from God through the laying on of hands. (Acts 8:12-20) In the process there was one named Simon [Simon Magus] who had been converted and baptized who was not truely sincere in heart, having been in the practice of sorcery and magic. And when this Simon saw the various powers of the Holy Ghost as it came upon the truely converted people, he came to Peter and offered him money if Peter would give unto him this 'power' of the spirit. Peter confounded Simon and curtly scolled him for such was not the way of the Holy Ghost. Saddly this Simon Magus appears to later revert to his old ways and mislead many from the true gospel of Jesus and practices of God.

The Path of Perfection: God's System of Success-Be Ye Therefore Perfect

Once through the gate God has not left us on our own in obtaining to perfection and eternal life. Within the way of the gate lies a system that when used can make the achievement of the kingdom of God totally possible. To be found in that passage through the gate is found four basic concepts principles that when used may bring man unto God. Those four basic principles work hand in hand with one's baptism and may be applied and used all along the path to eternal life. These four principles are referred to the first four principles of the gospel.

    "We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. PoGP Articles of Faith #4

One must believe and have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in his power to bring to pass the great 'hope' of the immortality and eternal life of man. And this by and through the power of his atoning sacrifice, that he does have the ability by his grace, forgiveness and imputed righteousness unto man to bring men unto God. Faith is an action based principle, not merely a state of mind, for faith without works is dead. By his faith a man's desire is to make himself to be like unto God. It is a active force which means the conforming the mind and will of man unto the laws and commandments and ways of God. Man must want and desire this change, to become as God is.

And thus active faith seeking God leads one into a 'turning' of self to God which is summed in the word repentance. Man must be willing to forsake his ways, the ways of the carnal flesh of the natural man, which is an enemy to God, into ever being and becoming even As God Is. Thus the narrow path is not the easy road of doing whatever, saying whatever, going whereever and being whatever one own self desires. It is conscieceously working to be obedient to God's commandments, laws and ways. It is a process of line upon line and precept upon precept, here a little and there a little at a time until the man can be lifted up to a higher standard and form of living even as God so lives.

The principles of faith and repentance is a way which needs the Savior's help. Man cannot do this alone. It would be like trying to lift oneself up by one's own boot straps in defiance of gravity. Thus in order to raise oneself up man learns to rely upon the Lord who can help to lift man from an higher plane. This is the principle of being born again in Jesus Christ, putting on the new man, even the man like unto our exemplar, Jesus Christ. And again the process is step by step, slowly we turn from the carnal man to a man that is filled by the spirit of God.

And this brings us to the fourth of the basic principles of the gospel. And that is the gift of the Holy Ghost. We are not left alone and to ourselves. We have a constant guide and companion to help us upon our way along the path and the is the Holy Spirit. And by that power of the spirit we can begin to grow closer and nearer to God day by day, step by step, principle, precept and line upon line. And by so learning to control our own mind and will to conform with the standards of deity, we may become a better person and more like unto God as our journey upon the narrow path to God progresses.

This is a learning process similar to which we do learn to do all things which raises us up and makes us better, smarter, stronger and more capable than we may have been before. And with the aid and help of the hand of God in the system it will tend to make bad men good and good men better and continue to take us further and on to that perfection which Jesus so taught us that we can and ought to be, even to 'Be ye perfect, even as our Father in Heaven is Perfect.'

Born and Hidden with Christ in God

Thus far has been given an introduction understanding as to what is envolved and entailed in being 'born with Christ in God'. This rebirthing process of baptism and commitment unto God, including the taking of the name of Jesus Chrsit upon us as members and citizens with Christ in the Gospel of Jesus Chirst and its process which leads unto life eternal in the kingdom of God is the crux of being truely Christian. But now, what is it to 'hid in Christ in God?'

In two places in the scriptures it speaks of being 'hid in Christ with God'. And the very logistics of what that entails has to do with the operation of the plan of God and who may qualify for that plan and what one's role in it actually is. In Colossians, Paul speaks of those rightfully in membership with Christ or are a part of Christ's Gospel plan.

    "For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." Colossians 3:3

How are we dead? How are those who are living and reading the scriptures to understand that they are 'dead'? Dead as to and in what sense? As spirit children of our Father in Heaven, we lived in his presence before we ever came to this mortal existence. As a part of God's great plan, the fall of Adam provided the way that we might come to this temporal mortal estate to obtain a physical body and further advance and maturate toward becoming as God is. Like a child who leaves home to seek their own way and fortune in the world, so did we leave the presence of our Heavenly Father to come to be born into this 'Second Estate'. Our departure from God's presence is in a very real sense a type of 'spiritual death', that is we have been cut off from that immediate Godly influence and presence, just as when a son or daughter have departed from home and into the world and the support and provission of our parental home and family are removed or 'dead' unto us.

And so though we are/were dead unto God, though Christ we may live again and return to the presence of the kingdom of God, no longer as a child but as a mature and evolved adult so to speak. "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." (1 Corrintians 15:22) The being born or alive again is effective by being born again in Jesus Christ as given previous. But the very processes envolved here on earth precluded a 'hidding with Chirst in God'. This hiding has various asspects, one of which will be addressed from the point of the second place in scripture which speaks of being hid with Christ in God. And this second scripture further address the criteria of authority and the power of priesthood of God, without which the pretended baptisms of men are but a mockery and disception of God's true and acceptable ordinance performances. In speaking of the concept of the 'wheat' and the 'tares', Jesus Christ has reveled the following:

    "Therefore, thus saith the Lord unto you, with whom the priesthood hath continued through the lineage of your fathers—For ye are lawful heirs, according to the flesh, and have been hid from the world with Christ in God—Therefore your life and the priesthood have remained, and must needs remain through you and your lineage until the restoration of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world begain. Therefore, blessed are ye if ye continue in my goodness, a light unto the Gentiles, and through this priesthood, a savior unto my people Israel. The Lord hath said it. Amen." D&C 86:8-11

The authorizing link between heaven and earth rests in the priesthood power of God. Through all the generations there is and has been and will be a lineage link connection to the priesthood. It was that which was what Abraham had sought after when he stated, "I sought for the blessings of the fathers . . . " (Abraham 1:2) And as a successful result of Abraham's efforts he did become 'a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.' That is in the words of Abraham:

    "I sought for mine appointment unto the Priesthood according to the appointment of God unto the fathers concerning the seed." ~ Abraham 1:4

That 'seed' was in respect to the ancestry of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer and Savior of the world and in and through whom the world would be saved, that is enabled to rightfully return to the presence and kingdom of God. That lineage of right to the priesthood of God has permeated throughout the ages of the ancestry of man, from Adam to Noah, from Noah to Abraham, Issac and Jacob. And thence from Jacob it came by way of Jacob's son Joseph and Joseph's sons as that covenant birthright of the (1 Chronicles 5:1-2) promises of the fathers, which did, does and has remained with Joseph's posterity (D&C 27:10) even including today when the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored as connected to the promises made unto Abraham of the blessing of the earth, every nation, kindred, tongue and people; in, through and by the hand of the seed of Abraham in the latter days to be found in the seed of Ephraim, Isreal and his companions.

Joseph of Egypt was also so promised by Jehovah-Jesus Christ that the latter day prophet of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ would come from him, his seed. Lehi spoke of that promise from the plates of brass as he gave his parting blessing to his family and in particular to his own son named Joseph as Lehi quoted from the very words of Joseph.

    "And thus prophesied Joseph saying:
      Behold, that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him, shall be confounded; for this promise, which I have obtained of the Lord, of the fruit of thy loins, shall be fulfilled. Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise. And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation;
    yea, thus prophesied Joseph."
    2 Nehpi 3, 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon; compare 2 Nephi 3:14-16, and see 2 Nephi 2:7-8 etc.

Now this may seem to have wandered a bit from the course of one being 'hid with Christ in God', but actually it has not. The 'priesthood power' of God is lineage connected as has been just established through the fathers unto even the latter day which has now come forth to the fulfilling of the promises of the fathers and the covenant of Abraham. A further insight may be obtained by considering what has been reveled in the 113th section of the Doctrine and Covenants. There the Prophet Joseph Smith reveals some answers concerning the 11th Chapter of Isaiah.

    "What is the root of Jesse spoken of in the 10th verse of the 11th chapter?
      Isaiah 11:10 - "¶And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the prople; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious."
    "Behold, thus saith the Lord, it is a descendant of Jesse, as well as of Joseph, unto whom rightly belongs the priesthood, and the keys of the kingdom, for an ensign, and for the gathering of my people in the last days."
    D&C 113:5-6

'In that day' would reference that time which is the 'latter days'. This scripture is used to apply to those of the latter day restoration and often more specifically to Joseph Smith himself. It is given here to illustrate how a 'lineage' of rightful heirs of the covenant promises of the fathers has been hid throughout the history of the earth even down to the latter days. This priesthood right must be considered to not only exist as to ancestry but also as to personal righteousness. To some it seems a bit troubling that not only the lineage of Joseph of Egypt is made mention to here, but that of Jesse the son of Obed is also named. Perhaps a consideration of what is contained in a text entitled Messiah ben David ~ Messiah ben Joseph can help to resolve that concern.

Here we are merely concerned that the two qualifications of the covenant of becoming the sons and daughters of God unto eternal life are met. That is the process of being 'born with Christ in God' and that those processes are sanctioned and accepted by God by and through God's priesthood authority in which we all may become 'hid with Christ in God'. Random pretended baptisms unto Christ and God by those not in authority are NOT acceptable unto God. And any of such WILL NOT be allowed in at the wedding feast for they are not justly authorized of God having come up by another way than the 'strait gate and narrow way'. Only those who have come by the authorized, empowered and sealed path by the priesthood of God, that is the 'strait gate and narrow way' may enter into the kingdom of God.