17 July 2010

"That Which Ye Should Do," 2 Nephi 32

2 Nephi 32

In plain terms, Nephi now explains the "now what?" part of discipleship. There is no law of Moses, no rules and regulations, no measured or calculated formula for success. Instead, Nephi says this:
  • Feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye shall do. 
  • ...And receive the Holy Ghost, it will show you all things what ye shall do. 
In other words, go to God himself for your instruction. Develop with Him a relationship of friendship and trust. He will lead us safely home, if we listen to His voice (see "Let the Holy Spirit Guide", hymn no. 143 ).

10 July 2010

"Like Unto Me," 2 Nephi 31

2 Nephi 31

And now at the end of his record, Nephi takes opportunity to write just a few more concerning the doctrine of Christ. Specifically, Nephi is addressing baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Verse 12 is an interesting argument given by the Lord himself. It reads, "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." (italics added)

In other words, what Christ is saying is that when we are baptized we are given the Holy Ghost, which is the same thing that happened to the Lord when he was baptized. Having the companionship of the Holy Ghost is the qualifier to being able to do the things which Christ was able to do. What strikes me is that following the influence of the Holy Ghost is the what enables us to be able to do what Christ did.

These ramification are deep, for if God is willing to give us the very same power that Christ himself had, then it is true that we can be expected to be able to do the same works which Christ himself did.

The other theme that is prevalent in this chapter is the discussion on enduring to the end. Nephi supports this argument with such strong statements as "if... after this [you] should deny me, it would have been better for you that ye had not known me," (vs 14).  Nephi also quotes other revelations that he had received, "He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved," (vs 15).   

Then in verse 20, Nephi details the terms by which we must endure to the end. As I re-read it this morning, the thought comes into my mind that this is surely obtainable. In the end we must have a complete reliance upon Christ, filled with a perfect brightness of hope, and be possessed with a love of God and of all men. These are the qualifiers for salvation. If we are found possessed of these things until the end of our lives, then we have won the race. Then have we qualified for eternal life. Though hard, as life proves to be, this actually seem obtainable.

01 July 2010

"None Save It Be Them That Repent," 2 Nephi 30

2 Nephi 30

Obedience and sin: these are the two principles upon which all men are measured equally. No amount of worldly wealth, no inheritance, no privileged station or social class can exclude us from the effects of sin or obedience.

If a wealthy man sins, is it the same as if a poor man sins? This is not for me to decide. If a poor man is obedient, does he receive any greater reward than if a rich man is obedient? I can not say. These things are for God to decide, but the scriptures are clear that repentance and obedience, regardless of who you are in the eyes of the world, are the only way back into God's presence. Perhaps for some, poverty is their appointed and perfect test. Then for others, perhaps it is prosperity that will be the greatest proving ground for their souls.

This chapter accomplishes two end for me this morning: 1) a reminder of the equality of Christ's doctrine (all that repent and believe in Christ shall be numbered among his people, and 2) all the righteous shall be saved. The end is glorious.

As I read more into this chapter, Nephi talks about the restoration of his family's seed. He says that not many generations shall pass away before they shall become a delightsome people (vs. 6). It has been less than a hundred years, and in many parts of Central and South America, less than 50 years since the gospel of Jesus Christ was first preached among them. Now the descendants of Lehi have surged into the millions among those that believe.