Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Remember His Name (2 Nephi 25, part 2)

The Name of Jesus Christ appears in 2 Nephi 25 about 80 times.  I actually didn't really count, but it's a lot. Way back when I did my post about 1 Nephi 11, I talked about Nephi seeing a vision of the Tree of Life.  When Nephi asked for the interpretation of the tree, he was shown a vision of the birth, life, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Then the angel put the question back to Nephi, "What meaneth the tree?"

This is my Tree of Life plate that a guy made for me while I was in Japan in 1994.  When he gave it to me, it wasn't upside down, but google blogger had a different idea.  Sorry, it won't fix.
 Nephi says, "It is the Love of God, which sheddeth Itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men."

Nephi loved The Savior, and understood as only a prophet can the depth of Christ's love for him, and the [insert fancy word here that means HUGE] importance of Christ's atonement. 

2 Nephi 25: 12-13
12.  ...and when the day cometh that the Only Begotten of The Father, yea, even The Father of heaven and of earth, shall manifest Himself unto them in the flesh, behold, they will reject Him, because of their iniquities, and the hardness of their hearts, and the stiffness of their necks.

13.  Behold, they will crucify Him; and after He is laid in a sepulchre for the space of three days He shall rise from the dead, with healing in His wings; and all those who shall believe on His Name shall be saved in the kingdom of God.  Wherefore, my soul delighteth to prophesy concerning him, for I have seen His day, and my heart doth magnify His Holy Name
I've noticed over the years an interesting something or other about references to the saving power of Christ.  Some scriptures tell us that salvation will come to those who believe in Him, accept Him, worship Him, come unto Him, obey Him, etc.  Other scriptures tell us that it is the Name of Jesus Christ that offers salvation.  I feel like both of these are true, but find it interesting that the scriptures differentiate them.

2 Nephi 25: 19
19.  For according to the words of the prophets, The Messiah cometh in six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem; and according to the words of the prophets, and also the word of the angel of God, His name shall be Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

20.  ...Behold I say unto you, that as these things are true, and as The Lord God liveth, there is none other name given under heaven save it be this Jesus Christ, of which I have spoken, whereby man can  be saved.

What is it about the Name of Jesus Christ that offers salvation to the human family?  I looked up the name of Jesus on http://www.kabalarians.com/index.cfm to see if I could gain some insight.

It was very insightful (not).  Here's their "analysis":
  • Your name of Jesus has given you the ability to handle people.  You are pleasant and diplomatic, and seem to sense how others feel.  For this reason, you could do well in public relations work.  (Definitely true so far)
  • You appreciate the finer things of life, and like to have a good standard of living.  (Well, he was poor in the beginning, but is now quite well off, so that could be true)
  • You feel that it is important to convey the impression that you are financially secure, and you place importance on your mode of dress, and on appearances generally.  (Um, well, He did say that the body is a temple, and that we should watch what we wear, so... maybe)
  • While you could do well in certain positions of authority, you have a certain lack of initiative and a tendency to procrastinate.  (This one just cracks me up)
  • Difficulty in coming to important decisions and a degree of passivity do not allow you the concentration and application required to attain positions of responsibility.  (Um, no)
  • You prefer to choose the easiest way to accomplish your goals, and would probably readily admit that you dislike hard work.  (The easy way?  Um, no)
  • However, your likeable personality sees you through most situations but when your emotional nature does not allow you to be strictly impersonal in your relationships, you could experience awkward, embarrassing entanglements. (Not real good at this, are they)
  • Weaknesses in the health could affect the kidneys, or lower back.  (Um, well, they're kind of off the mark on that one too)
Here's my think...

A person's identity is much more than just their name, but in a way, their name represents all that they are.  Jesus Christ is perfectly kind, loving, just, merciful, powerful, giving, knowing, fair, humane, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc...........  His name represents not only Who Jesus is, but also what He believes in, what His mission is, what His duty is, what He wants for us, what He offers us, what He did for us, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc...........  To believe in the Name of Christ, is to believe in Christ Himself, and everything about Him.

When we partake of The Lord's Supper, or the Sacrament as we call it today, we covenant to take upon ourselves the Name of Jesus Christ, and always remember Him. 

2 things about that....

# One.  We covenant to take upon ourselves His Name:  In taking His Name upon us, we take upon us all that His Name represents, that is to say, His gospel, His mercy, His kindness, His everything, or at least to make an effort to come as close as we can to these things, we being so not perfect as He is and all that.  We also take upon us His sacrifice, or in other words, accept His sacrifice, His atonement, His forgiveness.

Number 2:  We covenant to always remember Him:  Please remember to not forget to remember His atoning sacrifice.  It's great to be obedient, but it's vital to remember Him, because we will always fall short.  Don't forget to remember all He has done for you, and seek His mercy again and again and again and again, as many times as it takes, even if it's 491 times.  He will never forget about you.  He has "graven you on the palms of His hands," another great Isaiah reference.

2 Nephi 25: 23-26
23.  For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

24.  And, notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled.

25.  For, for this end was the law given; wherefore the law hath become dead unto us, and we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments.

26.  And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look forward for a remission of their sins.
Nephi knew and understood that the laws given through Moses to the house of Israel were still in effect, but would be fulfilled at Christ's atonement, and would then be replaced by Christ's higher law.  This higher law is found, at least in part, in The Bible and the Book of Mormon, where Jesus Christ delivered His Sermon on the Mount.  And Nephi understood that it was not obedience to the law that would bring salvation, but the atonement of Christ.  Obedience to the commandments of God shows our commitment to and love for The Savior, and increases our faith in Him and our love for Him.  And it is that belief in, faith in, and love for The Savior that leads us to repent & take upon ourselves His Name, which brings about His amazing grace in our behalf, despite all we do, or all we can do. 
I know this blog post is getting long, but I want to say something about the ending phrase in vs. 23: "We know that we are saved by grace, after all we can do."

The part that says "after all we can do" has caused some to think that we have to measure up to some standard before we can have a hope for salvation.  I clearly remember being a member of this misguided group.  I spent more than 1/2 of my life thinking that I have too many flaws, fall far too short of "all I can do," whatever that means, and ain't never gonna be "worthy enough," whatever that means, to go to heaven.  And why not?  Because I need the Savior's love a little too much?  Sounds silly, doesn't it?  

There's a part later in the BOM that throws some light on the phrase "after all we can do."  It's in Alma 24: 10-11, and is spoken by the King of a people who came to know Christ, ask His forgiveness, and believe in His ability and willingness to save them.
10.  And I also thank my God, yea, my great God, that He hath granted unto us that we might repent of these things. and also that He hath forgiven us of those our many sins and murders which we have committed, and taken away the guilt from our hearts, through the merits of His Son.

11.  And now behold, my brethren, since it has been all that we could do (as we were the most lost of all mankind) to repent of all our sins and the many murders which we have committed, and to get God to take them away from our hearts, for it was all we could do to repent sufficiently before God that He would take away our stain.

Mosiah 4: 30
30.  ...And now, O man, remember, and perish not.
Peace be with you...

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