Christian, faith, Grace, Heaven, Jesus Christ, Kindness, Love, Repentance, Sermon on the mount, Zion
I didn’t expect to write this entry today, but I kept feeling nudged to do so while my previous entry “What Is Grace” is still fresh in the minds of those who have read it. More and more Christians are abandoning institutional religion while seeking and embracing Jesus Christ with real intent. While it is imperative to seek the Lord, it is equally important to fellowship with other worshippers. One cannot become a disciple of Jesus without loving and serving as He did. That does not happen as individuals on tops of individual mountains. Zion will be a nation of disciples dwelling together who have learned by grace to get along with each other. We must learn to be refined together in the same way that river rocks are rounded and smoothed together in the same running waters. You have to endure being bumped into each other, rubbed off of each other, and smoothed together by the uncomfortable flow of the rolling waters around you. Similarly does steel sharpen steel.
We must learn to receive “grace from grace” and continue from “grace to grace” as I wrote in my previous entry. When Jesus taught those around him to love God and also to love their neighbors as themselves, He was questioned by undiscerning disciples. “Who is my neighbor” and “how many times shall I forgive my neighbor?” Where they lacked in dos, they well made up for in don’ts. Jesus had to break down the concept of the kind of love He expected them to learn. They already knew it was wrong to steal and to lie and to covet. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus expounded on the concept of the higher law of love or in other words, the law of Christ. For example, he unequivocally declared, “Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luke 6:30-31).
I still get asked by fellow LDS what about this? Or what about that? Should I just let so and so do this or that? They have not taken the time to study the personal teachings of Jesus Christ. But to answer their particular questions, the Lord covered those questions in fine detail which He declared in its entirety in D&C 98. In short, Jesus Christ declared:
13 And whoso layeth down his life in my cause, for my name’s sake, shall find it again, even life eternal.
14 Therefore, be not afraid of your enemies, for I have decreed in my heart, saith the Lord, that I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that you may be found worthy.
15 For if ye will not abide in my covenant ye are not worthy of me.
But I’m getting off subject there. People tend to want every scenario spelled out for them because they do not believe ALL the things Jesus Christ has already instructed us to do. Thus we have His sermon on the mount as a model for living and for loving. I love what Peter wrote to the blossoming Christians in his second epistle who had obtained that kind of faith. He gave them actionable further light and knowledge so that they might receive even more grace.
2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
In verses one through four, Peter greets those believers who had grown in faith and thus in grace. In verses five through eight, Peter then teaches them how they can grow from grace to grace. This is what disciples DO. They do these works to BECOME like Jesus Christ and all other heavenly beings who dwell with God. We are doing these things not necessarily in order to be saved, but we are doing them to become like saved beings. We cannot waltz into Zion or into heaven and expect Jesus to sprinkle magical fairy dust or magical grace dust and transform us into brotherly people. It doesn’t work that way. We develop brotherly kindness right now so that by abandoning our undesirable qualities (repentance), His grace covers us. This is why Peter says in verse nine that those religious and dutiful people who call themselves Christians do not do these things, it is as if they chose not to be baptized in the first place to be forgiven of their sins. They continue their journey ignorantly or hypocritically. And so Peter encouraged those Christians to give diligence to make their calling and election sure so that they never fall. They who forgive will be forgiven. They who love will be loved. They who elevate the downtrodden will themselves in the end be elevated. They will be saved in God’s kingdom as one who has received as much grace as he has been given the opportunity to receive while in this mortal life. Thus are we saved by grace. It’s an open book test and we have all the advantages and opportunities in the world to grow right now.