A few updates to were made to The Doctrine of Christ Study Guide just recently. One of those updates I wanted to highlight in this post.
If you have studies 2 Nephi 31-33 as the study guide directs, you see that repentance is the first step in this journey to fulfill the Doctrine of Christ. Some of the major steps in “the way” were numbered in such a way that repentance took a backseat almost.
Updates were made to give repentance its proper place in the Doctrine of Christ. Through personal experience and personal observation, repentance is a subject that I don’t hear preached very much from pulpits and Sunday school classrooms as much. In its place sometimes there are thankful-monies and testi-stories related to how great we are for being members of the church, that we have “received all” and that “if others would just accept the restored gospel they would actually be happy like we are.”
A little introspection here, but do we think or believe in some way “we have arrived”? Do we think or believe that “our temple recommend or temple ordinances are evidences that we have received all”? Do we think or believe that our current happiness compares to the indescribable joy of being a witness of the Savior, Jesus Christ? Personally, the message of “repent ye, repent ye” should never get old and we should embrace it now more than ever before.
Also included in this clarification of the role of sanctification in this entire journey. It should be more clear that this entire journey is continuously receiving sanctification. And sanctification is initiated with each instance of repentance, turning or returning to the Lord.
The following is an updated section in The Doctrine of Christ Study Guide:
(1) SEEK REPENTANCE AND SANCTIFICATION
Repentance is at the Gate By Which Ye Should Enter
Through you critical study from 2 Nephi 31-33 earlier in this study guide, you have seen that the first step in your journey is to “repent.”
- (2 Nephi 31:11-17) “And the Father said: Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son. 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…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.”
We often think of “repentance” as a checklist process to bring your soul in alignment with God’s will for you. This is true and, yes, there is a process for transgression and even serious sins. However, for the sake of your journey in the Doctrine of Christ think of repentance as something more simple. There are save two churches only (the church of the devil and the church of God). They stand polar opposite of one another with you standing between them. Think of “repentance” as simply “turning away from the world” symbolized as the church of the devil. As you turn the opposite way of the world you will see a path (journey) that leads to God (symbolized by the church of God). God, in His command to repent, is simply asking that you turn away from the world and turn to Him with an eye single to Him and His glory.
- (Helaman 11:4; 7:17) “O Lord, do not suffer that this people shall be destroyed by the sword; but O Lord, rather let there be a famine in the land, to stir them up in remembrance of the Lord their God, and perhaps they will repent and turn unto thee…O repent ye, repent ye! Why will ye die? Turn ye, turn ye unto the Lord your God. Why has he forsaken you?”
- (Ether 11:1) “And there came also in the days of Com many prophets, and prophesied of the destruction of that great people except they should repent, and turn unto the Lord, and forsake their murders and wickedness.
- (Mosiah 11:20-23) “And except they repent and turn to the Lord their God, behold, I will deliver them into the hands of their enemies; yea, and they shall be brought into abondage; and they shall be afflicted by the hand of their enemies. And it shall come to pass that except this people repent and turn unto the Lord their God, they shall be brought into bondage; and none shall deliver them, except it be the Lord the Almighty God.
Remember that after Adam and Eve knew the covenant promise and began teaching it to their children (posterity) the Adversary immediate came to their children and said, “believe it not.” Many of them believed Satan and followed him.
There is no difference today. The world is Satan’s playground. He offers much of his own doctrine to convince many that there is no God or there is no hope of receiving His glory. When he cannot get them to outright believe His doctrine He will distract them with the worldly pleasures.
With that in mind, will you always perfect in putting aside the world, keeping an eye single to the glory of God and seek your journey path back into His presence? Clearly no. So for this, the Lord’s invitation and command is simply to “REpent” and “REturn” to the path and journey that always remains available to you, but you must “willfully” choose it.
- (Helaman 13:11) “But if ye will repent and return unto the Lord your God I will turn away mine anger, saith the Lord; yea, thus saith the Lord, blessed are they who will repent and turn unto me, but wo unto him that repenteth not.”
- (Moroni 9:22) “But behold, my son, I recommend thee unto God, and I trust in Christ that thou wilt be saved; and I pray unto God that he will spare thy life, to witness the return of his people unto him, or their utter destruction; for I know that they must perish except they repent and return unto him.”
- (Alma 34:34) “Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.”
It’s a Journey of Sanctification
Being compelled to be humble only places you in a position to then “remember the Lord” and then allow you the opportunity to choose to pursue the path (journey) to the Lord. When a person “willfully” chooses to turn or REturn to the path (journey) of the Lord some degree of sanctification occurs.
Sanctification is the change in light (glory) of your soul/spirit. Sanctification is the “grace of God.” All sanctification is a gift of God. It is the power of God that changes one’s spirit. As a person “willfully” and continuously applies principles of righteousness their sanctification will increase.
- (2 Thessalonians 2:13) “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
- (1 Peter 1:2) “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”
- (Doctrine and Covenants 20:30-31) “And we know that justification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true. And we know also, that sanctification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true, to all those who love and serve God with all their mights, minds, and strength.”
- (Moroni 10:33) “And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.”
Your journey is a journey of continuous sanctification. Throughout your journey to fulfill the Doctrine of Christ you will receive more and more sanctification until you are made perfect in Christ in His presence.
…other content that follows and is included in this section is the original content about receiving the Light of Christ and a spiritual testimony of the Savior.
Since the message of repentance never gets old, I invite you to be faithful in your REpentance by turning or REturning to the Lord. REacquaint yourself with the journey and path to complete redemption and back into the presence of the Lord. Have faith, courage and love to turn away from the world and keep your eye single to the glory of God. Make time for Him each day and consecrate it as “holy time.” Live by His spirit and remember that His commandments are personal commandments from His voice (personal revelation). Love the Lord! Love your journey.! And praise the Lord for the wisdom of your own personal journey!