Context and General Information
- Lehi, before his death, preaches to Jacob a final time.
- People are instructed sufficiently to know good from evil.
- We have the law.
- The law justifies no one, in fact because of the law we are cut off – from God.
- We are also cut off from God spiritually and will be miserable forever.
- BUT, redemption comes through the Holy Messiah
- Christ offers Himself as a sacrifice for sin to answer the ends of the law.
- If we will come unto Him with a broken heart and contrite spirit, then His sacrifice will answer the ends of the law – and we will not be subject to misery or death.
- It is important that everyone on this earth knows this message. No one can dwell in the presence of God, save it is through Christ – His merits, mercy, and grace. He laid down His life and took it again to bring pass the resurrection of the dead.
- He will also stand an intercessor between us and God – saving us.
Redemption Comes through Christ: Grace and Truth
So, today we are continuing our study of 2 Nephi 2:5-9 – Redemption Cometh through Christ. In Part One, we studied the law. In Part two, we studied Redemption. Today, we are studying more about the Savior, the author of our Redemption.
“Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.” – 2 Nephi 2:6
I know that there is so much more to get through in this chapter, and that I could just skip ahead, but I am feeling drawn to the characteristics that Lehi used to describe the Holy Messiah. We will study that today, and hopefully it will give us more insight to our redemption and our relationship with the Savior.
First of all, the title that Lehi used to describe the Savior here was “Holy Messiah.” Let’s study that for a moment.
Time for the trusty dictionary:
1 :exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness
2 : divine
3 : devoted entirely to the deity or the work of the deity
4 a :having a divine quality
b :venerated as or as if sacred” – Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: Holy
I know it might be tedious to you, but I can’t even estimate how grateful I am for a dictionary. Yes, I know what holy means, but for some reason, it always helps me to look these words up in the dictionary and get a much firmer grasp on what it is I’m studying.
As we read through these definitions, we see that the Savior absolutely qualifies. He is exalted and worthy of complete devotion. He is perfect in goodness and righteousness. He is divine. He is devoted entirely to the work of His father. He is sacred and divine.
I suppose that we need to understand that Christ wasn’t just any old messiah. He was the Holy Messiah. He is the only one that would be capable of performing the redemption of souls.
The Bible dictionary can help us to better understand the title: Messiah:
“An Aramaic word meaning “the anointed.” … Used as the title of an office, it denotes the King and Deliverer whose coming the Jews were eagerly expecting. In the New Testament the deliverer is called the Christ, which is the Greek equivalent of Messiah, and Jesus the Messiah is called Jesus the Christ, Jesus Christ, or Christ Jesus.” – Bible Dictionary: Messiah
So, the Savior, Jesus Christ, will offer up a redemption. He was holy, perfect, righteous, and was anointed by God to do this work.
Now, onto grace. Let’s look that up in the dictionary:
1a : unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification
b : a virtue coming from God
c : a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine assistance
2a : APPROVAL, FAVOR
stayed in his good graces
b archaic : MERCY, PARDON
c : a special favor : PRIVILEGE
each in his place, by right, not grace, shall rule his heritage
— Rudyard Kipling
d : disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency
e : a temporary exemption : REPRIEVE” – Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary: Grace
There are more definitions for the word grace, but I don’t want to bog this post down any more. The thing for us to realize is that the Savior, this perfect being who was anointed by God to deliver us, is full of grace. He is full of mercy, favor, kindness, clemency.
This is interesting to the think about. His work would be to perform the Atonement. And one of Christ’s characteristics is grace. I would think that He would have needed to develop this characteristic in order for Him to do His work.
And you know, I think it also applies to each of us, too. I want to follow the example of the Savior in my life – in fulfilling my role and purpose on this earth. And I’m finally beginning to see that many of my personality traits are tailored to help me to do the work that I was sent here to do. God really knows each of us. He will enable us to fulfill the measures of our personal creation.
So, in order to fulfill the role of Holy Messiah – and to redeem us – the Lord was blessed with the divine quality of grace. And we are the beneficiaries of this amazing trait!
This time a definition that comes from the scriptures (it is my favorite definition of truth!)
“And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come;” – Doctrine and Covenants 93:24
We live in a time when truth is often disputed. Many of the contemporary philosophical movements claim that there is no such thing as truth. Of course, this definition is problematic to the philosophy itself. (Is saying there is no truth a truth, then?!) Really, this is a rabbit hole that I don’t have the time to go down right now. But understanding truth can get confusing. Thankfully, we have the words of the Lord, and He teaches it perfectly. Truth is an eternal knowledge of everything.
The Holy Messiah is full of this eternal knowledge! We can trust Him. We don’t have to put our trust in people – whose perspectives are finite. We have an infinite, omniscient, and omnipotent being in whom we can trust.
I suppose that this quality helped Christ redeem us because He was able to see what needed to be done and how He would need to do it. Jesus wasn’t deceived by the Devil when He was fasting. This is because He was full of truth. The Savior didn’t give in to Peter’s persuasion to stay protected from the harm that would be fall Him. Instead, the Savior had a true understanding of the importance and scope of His work.
And it is through His qualities of grace and truth that He performed His work.
As I write this, of course, I’m really curious to learn more about grace and truth, but the Spiritual impressions I’m feeling are imploring me to ponder something different.
I keep thinking about the fact that the Savior was like many of us:
“And I, John, bear record that I beheld his glory, as the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, even the Spirit of truth, which came and dwelt in the flesh, and dwelt among us.
And I, John, saw that he received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace;
And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness;” – Doctrine and Covenants 93:11-13
The Savior wasn’t born ready to perform the work of the Atonement. He wasn’t ready to perform the work of the Atonement when He was 2, 12, or 22. It wasn’t until Christ was about 30 that He began His ministry and then about 33 years old when He died.
It took Him time to cultivate the knowledge, experiences, and traits He would need to perform His work on this earth.
In this way, the Savior is like us. It takes us time to learn. It takes iterations of experience to really develop any good quality. I don’t mean to demean the Savior. He is absolutely divine, and I don’t mean to say that He is “like us” in a way that belittles Him. But we have learned that He had to learn and develop in order to do the work He was sent to do. It’s simply the way that things work – line upon line, precept upon precept.
I don’t know what His childhood was like. I don’t know the experiences He had. I don’t know the tutelage He underwent. But I do know that when it was time for Him to begin His ministry, He was ready.
And I keep thinking about application to my own life. We each have our own work to do. We have our own missions to fulfill. I suppose we will each need to do as the Savior did – continue from grace to grace. We need to learn and develop until we are capable of doing it the work that God has in store for us.
We are like rivers. We are made and meant “to flow.” There are times in life when “rain” is plentiful and the waters are rushing and flowing. Those are joyful, beautiful times when our lives and our environments have partnered up in such a way that we are doing exactly what we were created to do.
There are also dry times in our lives, when we don’t really resemble a river as much as we do a “river bed.” Dry. Parched. Waiting.
Still others, maybe we have plenty of water, but something is stopping the flow. We are dammed. We can’t flow. We are instead overwhelmed by the water we do have, but nothing to do with it.
And what does this have to do with the Savior – who is full of Grace and truth??? I know that I had a point…
I think that we have to understand what will bring us water and flow in our lives. I think that we are sometimes drawn to those very concepts we need to learn and characteristics that we need to develop. When we do, we don’t feel parched. We don’t feel stagnate. We feel saturated with promise and purpose.
The Lord, at some point or another, developed the qualities of grace and truth. And because of this discipline was able to perform the work of the Atonement. I have no doubt that fulfilling His mission on earth brought Him much joy. It also brought joy to the rest of humankind. Likewise, we can develop the qualities we need to do the work we are meant to do. As we do so, we will feel joy. And, our work will reach others and bless them, too. We can be the water that flows – nourishing the life around us and eventually contributing to the vast oceans.
I’m sorry if this post kind of jumped around, but I want to say that I feel hope. We can get the waters “turned on” in our lives by looking to develop the traits that we need. Additionally, when we feel blocked up, we can pray for ways to break up the dams and obstacles that block our rivers from flowing.
There is so much to learn from the scriptures – both the universal concepts and the personal applications. I love them.