Monday, November 16, 2015

The Plain Doctrine of Christ (2 Nephi 31)

These last few chapters of 2nd Nephi are some of my very favorites.  Last week year we talked about 2nd Nephi 30, in the which Nephi made a bunch of prophesies about our day, and what would happen to both Jew and Gentile.  In Chapter 31 it's as if Nephi puts down his prepared lesson and just speaks from his heart.

After spending days and days reading his favorite Isaiah scriptures to his people, and seeing their reaction...

... Nephi breaks it down to the plain Doctrine of Christ.  For his soul delighteth in plainness.  So let's talk about what Nephi really wants us to get out of all of his teachings.

First:  Baptism is essential to salvation

In order to enter into the Kingdom of God, a person must be baptized by an authorized Priesthood holder.  Exceptions to this commandment include children who have not reached the age of accountability (8 years old) and those who are disabled to the degree that they are also unaccountable.

I was baptized when I was 8 years old, sometime in November of 1974.  My dad was an inactive member of the church, and did not hold the proper Priesthood Authority, so he couldn't baptize me.  Some guy named Bro. Lowe happened to be in the font and already wet from baptizing his son, Mark, so he did the dunking.  In The Church we are baptized by immersion, so when my big toe stuck out of the water, I had to be baptized again.  There went the toe again.  Third time's the charm;  Bro. Lowe planted his foot on my foot, and was able to put me all the way under the water.  Whew! I was finally clean from all those sins I'd accumulated since my birthday on November 9th.  I don't remember how many there were, but I'm glad they're gone.

So, since we know that Jesus Christ was completely without sin, did he need to be baptized?  Is baptism just for cleansing our sins, or is there more to it than that?

                 Verse 7 
Christ was baptized not for His past mistakes, but as an act of obedience, and a covenant that He would always be obedient.

The Gift of the Holy Ghost is essential to salvation

After baptism, baptismees are confirmed a member of The Church, and are given the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, also by one holding the proper Priesthood authority.  I have zero memory of my confirmation, but I'm sure it looked something like the photo above (except I'm a dude).

Where baptism cleanses us from sin, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, or the baptism of fire, sanctifies us, and makes us (or has the potential to make us) holy.  And this "speaking with the tongue of angels" thing and this "shouting praises unto the Holy One of Israel" thing, I think that means that once we receive the Holy Ghost, and the witness of Christ and His Gospel that follows those who sincerely seek it, the Holy Ghost will testify to others when you testify of Him.  Anywayz, that's what I think.

Repentance is essential for salvation

I'm kinda going outta order here, but next in the chapter is Repentance.  To repent means to turn away from bad junk, and turn toward God.  Most definitely a person sincerely repenting must ask Heavenly Father for forgiveness, but even more important than that is what comes next.  Which leads me to...

Enduring to the End is essential for salvation

The word "enduring" conjures up images of marathons and summits of high mountains.  It seems to connote (one of my favorite words) hardship and suffering.  I like how President Monson puts it much better.  Enduring to the End to me is less about always choosing the right, no matter how hard the rain falls, and more about daily repentance, no matter how hard I fall.

And lastly (but really firstly)...

Faith in The Lord Jesus Christ is essential for salvation

So, there you have it, the Doctrine of Christ.  To sum it up in JB-ese...

  • Have Faith in Jesus Christ
  • Repent and follow Jesus Christ
  • Covenant to be obedient to Jesus Christ through baptism and other ordinances
  • If you fail, start over
  • Rely alone on the merits of Jesus Christ; He is mighty to save
The End.  I'll see you next year time.

Peace be with you

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