~ BE YE THEREFORE PERFECT ~
~ The Doctrine of Christ ~
"THERE is a way given, a means by which man might transcend his fallen condition and return to live with God in Heaven. It is given in and through and by the Lord Jesus Christ and is called the Doctrine of Christ or the Godpel of Christ. By exercising faith in Christ with the hope of attaining Eternal Life does it commence. And then by turning from the ways of men unto the ways of God, by putting off the old man of sin and putting on the new man of righteous, line upon line, precept upon precept, step by step may we become perfected by his love, grace and mercy. And this as we are led by the light of the Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost. And thus we may come to know and understand the truth of all things and to learn to live by all the commandments and ways of God, line upon line, precept upon precept. We may be lifted up and sanctified, raised up above the course of carnal man unto the heavens above where by the grace and mercy of Jesus and the sanctification of the Holy Spirit we may become perfected even as God is. And as we love God so shall we keep him commandments which he has given us, obtain immortaility, gain eternal life and become one with God in the ways or His righteousness." ~ drh
MANY have spoken concerning the 'Doctrine of Christ' and the way and/or means it provides to the followers of Jesus Christ to advance toward becoming perfect even as our Father Who is in Heaven is perfect. Perhaps one of the latest is Brother Brian K. Ashton's conference talk of October 2016. It is provided here as a quick link above as a ready reference to that talk.
Yes, there are many who speak of the Kingdom of God as the footnoted references to the preceding refered to talk would illustrate. The Kingdom of God is where God the Celestial Father dwells, which is further detailed as being Heaven. 'Our Father Who art in Heaven' is how Jesus taught us to frame our prayerful speech to our Father in Heaven in daily prayer. The the primary goal of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to attain unto coming to dwell with God in Heaven, in the Kingdom of God. This brings us to the topic at hand. By what means and avenue are we individually enabled to obtain God's Heaven? The apostle John has recorded what Jesus Christ has stated in the scriptures:
What does it mean to come unto God the Father by the way or means of Jesus Christ? And granted it is a journey to be undertaken, for slowly does this natural man turn from his carnal nature step by step, line upon line, precept upon precept to attain unto the ways of God. That is to become godlike or even as God is.
What is the Way or Means by which man is to obtain and travel the path back to God?
God has provided in Christ a 'means' to return to Heaven, yet it does take the ongoing actions of the individual. In a symbolic analogy, the individual must walk the walk of the path that leads to God and His Kingdom. And while living a Godly life is very much a part of obtaining God's highest reward of Heaven, there are also set rules and requirements of performance that are to be institued and followed. The apostle Paul, the prophet Nephi and even Jesus Christ himself addresses this as being the Doctrine of Christ. And there is no other way by by, in and through him, that is by his Gospel, enven the Doctrine of Christ.
The apostle Paul speaks of the foundational principles that consitute the Doctrine of Christ and the Articles of Faith set them out as the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel in article 4. From the aspect of they being principles all four do constitute an ideological principle of the Gospel.
Now there are two resplendant scriptural accounts concerning the Doctrine of Christ in the Book of Mormon. One is recorded by Nephi the son of Lehi beginning in 2 Nephi 31. It is given here in full from the Book of Mormon as who but Nephi can so plainly set it out? The second is that which is given by Jesus Christ himself in 3 Nephi of the Book of Mormon at the time that the resurrection Lord did visit those of the Nephites round about the Temple in Bountiful of the Book of Mormon. It also is given following.
'Nephi tells why Christ was baptized—Men must follow Christ, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end to be saved—Repentance and baptism are the gate to the strait and narrow path—Eternal life comes to those who keep the commandments after baptism.' [About 545 B.C.]
"AND now I, Nephi, make an end of my aprophesying unto you, my beloved brethren. And I cannot write but a
few things, which I know must surely come to pass; neither can I write but a few of the bwords of my brother
"Wherefore, the things which I have written sufficeth me, save it be a few words which I must speak concerning the doctrine of Christ; wherefore, I shall speak unto you plainly, according to the plainness of my prophesying.
"For my soul delighteth in plainness; for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men. For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding.
"Wherefore, I would that ye should remember that I have spoken unto you concerning that prophet which the Lord showed unto me, that should baptize the Lamb of God, which should take away the sins of the world.
"And now, if the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfil all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water!
"And now, I would ask of you, my beloved brethren, wherein the Lamb of God did fulfil all righteousness in being baptized by water?
"Know ye not that he was holy? But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments.
"Wherefore, after he was baptized with water the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove.
"And again, it showeth unto the children of men the straitness of the path, and the narrowness of the gate, by which they should enter, he having set the example before them.
"And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?
"And the Father said: Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son.
"And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.
"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.
"But, behold, my beloved brethren, thus came the voice of the Son unto me, saying: After ye have repented of your sins, and witnessed unto the Father that ye are willing to keep my commandments, by the baptism of water, and have received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and can speak with a new tongue, yea, even with the tongue of angels, and after this should deny me, it would have been better for you that ye had not known me.
"And I heard a voice from the Father, saying: Yea, the words of my Beloved are true and faithful. He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.
"16 And now, my beloved brethren, I know by this that unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved.
"Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.
"And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive.
"And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, 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, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eeternal life.
"And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor cname given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen." ~ Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 31:Heading-21
'Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost—Men must pray and gain knowledge for themselves from the Holy Ghost.' [About 545 B.C.]
"AND now, behold, my beloved brethren, I suppose that ye ponder somewhat in your hearts concerning that which
ye should do after ye have entered in by the way. But, behold, why do ye ponder these things in your hearts?
"Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost?
"Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.
"Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark.
"For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.
"Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do.
"And now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be.
"And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray ye would know that ye must pray; for the devil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.
"But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul." ~ Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 32:Heading-9
In Proverbs it states, "...with all thy getting, get understanding." (Proverbs 4:7) But how does one obtain understanding of the precepts of God but by the Word of God as confirmed and taught by the powers of the Spirit of God. And by that Spirit directly communing to the spirit and understanding of man? It is one thing to have the means or the tools to use. The hammer, the axe; but if there is not understanding, or having the 'wood' to work upon to make one's way, what use are the tools of faith, repentance, baptism [rebirth/newness of life], and further spiritual enlightenment providing the way or path to God that man must travel to come unto the perfection of God?
It has been said that, "Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die?" But every one will die. What may be better said is, "Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to pray?" Merely dying does not bring a man unto heaven. It is by building an active relationship with that God Who is in Heaven. And that is by the words of prayer upon the part of the man. Christ provides the tools by way of his atonement. The principles and ordinances of the Gospel, of the Doctrine of Christ. The effort to use those tools productively rest upon man and that man's communion with God, discerning God's wisdom and understanding, line upon line, precept upon precept as given by the word of God and that by way of the workings and power of the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghosts in response to the prayers, strivings, and obtaining the word of God and by that man, and living by every Word of God that is given him to live unto the perfecting of himself to become as God is.
3 NEPHI : CHAPTER 11
'The Father testifies of his Beloved Son—Christ appears and proclaims his atonement—The people feel the wound marks in his hands and feet and side—They cry Hosanna—He sets forth the mode and manner of baptism—The spirit of contention is of the devil—Christ's doctrine is that men should believe and be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost.' [About A.D. 34]
"AND now it came to pass that there were a great multitude gathered together, of the people of Nephi, round about the
temple which was in the land Bountiful; and they were marveling and wondering one with another, and were showing one to
another the great and marvelous change which had taken place.
"And they were also conversing about this Jesus Christ, of whom the sign had been given concerning his death.
"And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn.
"And it came to pass that again they heard the voice, and they understood it not.
"And again the third time they did hear the voice, and did open their ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came.
"And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard; and it said unto them:
"Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him.
"And it came to pass, as they understood they cast their eyes up again towards heaven; and behold, they saw a Man descending out of heaven; and he was clothed in a white robe; and he came down and stood in the midst of them; and the eyes of the whole multitude were turned upon him, and they durst not open their mouths, even one to another, and wist not what it meant, for they thought it was an angel that had appeared unto them.
"And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand and spake unto the people, saying:
"Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.
"And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.
"And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words the whole multitude fell to the earth; for they remembered that it had been prophesied among them that Christ should show himself unto them after his ascension into heaven.
"And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto them saying:
"Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.
"And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and adid feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come.
"And when they had all gone forth and had witnessed for themselves, they did cry out with one accord, saying:
"Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him.
"And it came to pass that he spake unto Nephi (for Nephi was among the multitude) and he commanded him that he should come forth.
"And Nephi arose and went forth, and bowed himself before the Lord and did kiss his feet.
"And the Lord commanded him that he should arise. And he arose and stood before him.
"And the Lord said unto him: I give unto you power that ye shall baptize this people when I am again ascended into heaven.
"And again the Lord called others, and said unto them likewise; and he gave unto them power to baptize. And he said unto them: On this wise shall ye baptize; and there shall be no disputations among you.
"Verily I say unto you, that whoso repenteth of his sins through your words, and desireth to be baptized in my name, on this wise shall ye baptize them—Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them.
"And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying:
"Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
"And then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water.
"And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name; for behold, verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one.
"And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize. And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been.
"For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.
"Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.
"Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.
"And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.
"And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.
"And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.
"And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.
"And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.
"And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
"And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.
"Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth." ~ Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 11:Heading-41
One of the primary themes, if not the primary theme, of the Book of Mormon is that testimony witness of Jesus Christ as the promised Redeemer, Savior and Deliverer of the world in and through the Gospel, the Doctrine, of Jesus Christ to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. And as the Book of Mormon in its plainness of presentation speaks of the God of the Old Testament, namely Jehovah, as being the one and singular Lord God of Israel, even Jesus Christ, through out the pages of the Book of Mormon from beginning to end. As it is so stated early in the record of Nephi the son of Lehi:
The cyclic four principles which accompany every man's step by step progress in becoming like unto God are those first four principles and ordinances of the Gospel, the Doctrine of Christ. It is to have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ with the hope of attaining eternal life as our goal, to turn from every evil carnal way of the natural man unto the righteous ways of God, to be reborn as to righteousness having turned from the carnal and wicked ways of the world. And by the light and gift of the Holy Ghost that reveals to the mind and spirit of man the truth of all things just what is every matter pertaining to God that we in our love of God must turn our life unto being perfect even as our Father Who art in heaven is perfect.
Now there is the obligation that all who have bee so warned and converted, prticularly the parents of the children of God, to warn and teach this Gospel and Doctrine of Christ unto mankind, even the very spirit angel children of God with whom we associated with here on earth.
And this way and means is given unto all to come to know and be like God is. And it is a process, a step by step process as man struggles to over come this carnal temporal mortality of corruption and death. That he/she might be enabled to be raised by the power, mercy and grace of the atonement of Christ as they are to be found seeking their way unto the Eternal Father of Heaven and Earth from Whom they have come. As it is said, even after all we can do, we will still find ourselves short of measuring up to the standards of life of God. But then the power of Christ, of God, can then lay claim upon us as we have turned unto God and His Christ and have been found in the way, using those means provided, to come unto Him through the only way and means given under heaven and that is in and through Jesus Christ our Lord.
As the baby Jesus grew and progressed from grace to grace in his own understanding, so must we do likewise. There is the knowledge and understanding of the doctrine give unto man. It is in the scriptures and inately hiden in our very nature of our spirits from on high. And during our propationary term in this life or in the spirit world after death, we will become instructed in the Doctrine of Christ, that Gospel plan whereby we may all find our way to God. All will have the opportunity, though all through their exercise of agency may not adequately comply and achieve the high glories of the Heaven of God. Whether in the premortality, as did Lucifer and his angels, or in mortality, or in the spirit world of spirit prison to come; man may so exercise his agency to the extent of fully rejecting God and His ways and be lost to God's heaven for ever more.
And thus it is at some point there is determined those who are still in a state of being capable of accepting God's understandings and those who have closed themselves off from that avenue unto exaltation. There are those who remain teachable and those who have removed themselves from being able to be reached by the word of God, having so rejected it in totality and therefore are lost from it forever.
And from the darkest pit of total rejection to the hights of Godhood, there are kingdoms and degrees. And some will only enable themselves so far in accepting the things of God. For the fullness of God is great and not all will rise to obtain the fulness thereof. They will choke along the way and refuse to travel on further into the greater light and knowledge of Christ and that God Whom he is the Intercesser to.
Here the importance of being 'found in the way' cannot be over emphasized. Now man is not capable of perfect in and of himself alone. And that which man can do is to be 'found in the way' of coming unto God line upon line and precept upon precept, and not having stopped himself by further denying his own further progression. For as many have found out as such as Nephi and Paul, perfection is not possible to be fully attained to by corruptible mortal man. And it is only after all that we can do that we are then raised up by the grace and mercy of God unto being further sanctified by the power of the Holy Ghost to finally become even as God is. (2 Nephi 25:23)
"And I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall forsake all evil and cleave unto all good, that ye shall
live by every word which proceedeth forth out of the mouth of God.
"For he will give unto the faithful line upon line, precept upon precept; and I will try you and prove you herewith." ~ Doctrine and Covenants | Section 98:11-12
"And again, the voice of God in the chamber of old Father Whitmer, in Fayette, Seneca county, and at sundry times, and in divers places through all the travels and tribulations of this Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! And the voice of Michael, the archangel; the voice of Gabriel, and of Raphael, and of divers angels, from Michael or Adam down to the present time, all declaring their dispensation, their rights, their keys, their honors, their majesty and glory, and the power of their priesthood; giving line upon line, precept upon precept; here a little, and there a little; giving us consolation by holding forth that which is to come, confirming our hope!" ~ Doctrine and Covenants | Section 128:21
¶ "Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
¶ "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." ~ Old Testament | Isaiah 55:6-9
"Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
"For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened." ~ Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 14:7-8 | New Testament | Matthew 7:7-8 | Luke 11:9-10
And we are commanded by the Lord to 'search the scriptures' for in those scriptures we may come to consider that we have eternal life in and through Jesus Christ. And it is those scriptures 'that testify of him.' (John 5:39) And what are the scriptures but the Word of God given to man throuogh men, the prophets of God, who have written and do testify of Him? And while the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price are the core cannonized scriptures of the Standard Works today, they are NOT the final word of God as given to man. "We do believe all that God has revealed." We also believe all that God does now reveal though his living servants the prophets of his Church. And we further look to believe all that, "He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God." (PofGP Article of Faith #9)
ver. 19 November 2016
The Doctrine of Christ
Second Counselor in the Sunday School General Presidency