First of all, I have to say – I love the doctrine of Christ. I find it super exciting. This is where things really start to come together. We have studied our pre-mortal existence, the fall, and mortality. We have studied the need for the atonement, and the atonement. With the Doctrine of Christ, we learn how to apply the power of atonement to our lives. This is where everything comes together.
At the meridian of time, Christ came to the earth, and gave us an example. When he began his mortal ministry, he went to John the Baptist, and was baptized.
Nephi points out that Christ was holy, yet was baptized. He then asks:
“And now, if the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfil all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water!” – 2 Nephi 31:5
Christ was holy, yet was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. Of course we need to do the same.
Christ, himself, taught Nicodemus:
“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” – John 3:5
Jesus taught us, through His example, that baptism is necessary in order to enter into the kingdom of God.
- We have to understand that we are fallen people. Christ wasn’t fallen, so He could covenant with God directly. We covenant with God in Christ’s name, and he enables us to overcome with fall.
- If we want to be able to dwell with God again, then we need to be purified and Holy. Following the steps in the doctrine of Christ will help us, through Christ’s atonement, to be made pure and Holy.
“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.” – 2 Nephi 31:13
- Have Faith in Christ – follow Him, genuinely. In following Christ, we recognize that he knows where he’s going, and we want to go there, too. When we follow Christ, we believe Him. Another aspect of following Christ is doing what He has taught us to do – keep the commandments and covenant with God.
- Repent – Repentance seems to be a natural result of genuine faith in Christ. When we exercise our faith in Christ, when we keep His commandments, and experience His love, we are also made aware of our imperfections. It isn’t because God is some kind of guilt-tripper. It is because as we increase in our faith in Christ, we realize that we can be even closer to Him and feel more of His love when we repent and change our lives.
- Take upon the name of Christ – through baptism – I love this! We are able to become united with Christ when we are baptized. Can you really understand the scope of this blessing?
I was talking with my sister today – about worthiness, the temple, prayer, etc. And I realized, none of us are worthy. None of us are worthy to go to the temple, take the sacrament, or even pray – ON OUR OWN. We pray – in the name of Christ. We bless and partake of the sacrament in the name of Christ. When we take on His name, then everything we do – as we approach the Lord – can be with the intercessory power that the Savior offers. So – am I worthy to go to the temple? When it comes to Catania, I’d have to say no. But, I’m faithful, I’m repentant, I have taken on Christ’s name, and I know that His grace makes up for my lack of worthiness. We aren’t in this alone. We can have Christ as a partner when we take on His name and live worthy of His atoning power in our lives.
- Receive the Holy Ghost – When we are baptized, we are purified. Then, when we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, we are sanctified. This is how the doctrine of Christ makes us Holy.
I’m totally flabbergasted by the gift of the Holy Ghost. That hasn’t always been the case. When I was a little kid, I remember that we would learn about the Gift of the Holy Ghost in primary. Often, the teacher would bring in a little present – wrapped up and empty. How I longed to open that present – and find a toy or candy. Yet it was always empty: symbolizing the gift of the Holy Ghost. I understand the object lesson, but I always kind of wished it had a toy in there instead. I didn’t understand the Gift that was being offered.
Yet, as I have gotten older, and have felt the power and blessing it is to have the Gift of the Holy Ghost in my life, I am so grateful that God chose this way to bless us (rather than toys or candy bars!).
Think of the love God has for us. 1) We are His children, and are blessed with a divine nature. (See Romans 8:16). 2. We can take on the name of Christ – and be connected to the Godhead in this way. 3. We are literally blessed with the gift of the Holy Ghost – who is a constant companion to those who live worthy of the blessing. Heavenly Father doesn’t intend for us to be alone on our mortal journey. Even though we are cut off from Heavenly father, the atonement and doctrine of Christ enables us to endure our mortal probation with divine help.
- Endure to the End – Nephi teaches:
“And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.
Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.” – 2 Nephi 31:19-20
After we have completed the previous four steps, we don’t have it made. We still have to endure the tests of this life. The key is given here in 2 Nephi 31:20 –
- Faith – steadfastness in Christ
- Hope – perfect brightness of hope
- Charity – love of God and of all men
Through these efforts, we will be able to make it back to our Heavenly Father. His purposes (See Moses 1:39.) will be fulfilled, and we will rejoice forever with God.
The plan of salvation is pretty awesome.
What did you learn as you studied the Doctrine of Christ? What do you find particularly comforting about this doctrine?