Increasing Understanding of Christ through the Book of Mormon (Part 4)

This is the final part in a series of blog posts about how the Book of Mormon helps to increase our understanding of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

In the first part we discussed the need for a savior – which is plainly explained in the Book of Mormon. In the second part we learned more of the nature of Christ through the testimonies of the prophets in the Book of Mormon. In the third part we learned the doctrine of Christ – which is very plainly taught in the Book of Mormon. Now, we will talk about – how the Book of Mormon brings us increased hope in Christ – which helps us to endure.

We are taught:

” 16 And now, my beloved brethren, I know by this that unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved.” – 2 Nephi 31:16

Even after we have covenanted with God – through Christ. Even after we have accepted the gospel, we are not finished! We must endure. We must remain faithful.

This kind of sounds hard, and sometimes even depressing. I mean, I’m no idiot. I know – life is hard. Even Christ taught, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation:But he doesn’t end there. He continues, ,”but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world,” (John 16:33). We can find strength to endure in Christ. We can endure cheerfully. And the Book of Mormon sheds a lot of light on how to do this.

Nephi teaches:

” 20 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 31:20

This scripture teaches us that we need to endure faithfully, with hope, and charity. Then it gives us a huge hint: feasting upon the word of Christ.

I love this charge. First of all: I love eating – feasting, especially. Being a spiritual fattie is a super-duper good thing! Second of all, I’ve been blessed by feasting upon the word of Christ. The scriptures will give us the information and examples we need to be able to endure. The scriptures, which is Christ’s word, will help to strengthen our faith in Christ and increase our hope.

The Book of Mormon can help us to remain faithful in Christ – even as we struggle through trials. The stories of the Book of Mormon – the lives of those who authored it – are examples, or object lessons that teach us more about Christ. We can apply these lessons to our own lives which will help us to have a “perfect brightness of hope.” Here are a two examples of stories or prophets from the Book of Mormon that help to increase our hope in the Savior.

Nephi
In 2 Nephi, Nephi states:

” 34 O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.” – 2 Nephi 4:34

This testimony comes from Nephi a little later in his life, and I can see how he is able to give it genuinely. Nephi had trusted in the Lord, and had been delivered every time. Nephi had obtained the brass plates, suffered with hunger in the Wilderness, built a ship and made safe passage to the Promised Land. Even though it took eight years, and there were many difficulties in the way, Nephi trusted the Lord completely, and always was delivered. Often, his deliverance did not come until the final moment – just before destruction – but he was always delivered.

Nephi’s life is one object lesson after another. We learn that trusting in the Lord will help us to endure, and that, eventually we will be delivered.

Alma the Younger
Alma the younger was the son of a prophet, and, at first, he was a bit of a rebel. However, the Lord in His mercy humbles Alma. This experience causes Alma to repent. But Alma doesn’t stop at saying I’m sorry. He lives the rest of his life serving the Lord diligently. He leads his people in battle, serves in the government,preaches the gospel to those who believe, teaches those that are wicked, suffers mocking and reviling, experienced success, Witnessed the martyrdom of recent converts, is put in prison, and is delivered – by God – from prison. He deals with an anti-Christ, and continues preaching the gospel. Throughout his life, he is motivated by a vision –

” 22 Yea, methought I saw, even as our father Lehi saw, God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels, in the attitude of singing and praising their God; yea, and my soul did long to be there.” – Alma 36:22

Even after being a vile sinner, Alma experiences true forgiveness and turns his life over to the Lord. Alma’s life is an example to us – of the power of Christ’s atonement and on how we find our lives when we lose them in the Lord.

When we read these examples, we are filled with hope in our Savior – which fuels our ability to endure. What are some of the stories from the Book of Mormon that help you to endure your life’s struggles?

***
I want to bear my testimony that I know that the Book of Mormon is a true book. It was written by true prophets. It is a book that will bring us closer to Christ. Through the Book of Mormon, we can understand our need for a Savior, we learn the nature of Christ, we are taught the doctrine of Christ, and we are taught how to endure with steadfastness in Christ. I encourage you, if you haven’t, to read the Book of Mormon. You can find it online here or you can order a free copy here. Additionally, check out some other great blog posts – from every-day people – over at the Book of Mormon Forum.

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