The Lord taught that His Doctrine “…is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto Me” (see 3 Nephi 11:32). “The doctrine of Christ …is the means—the only means—by which we can obtain all the blessings made available to us through Jesus’s Atonement. It is the doctrine of Christ that allows us to access the spiritual power that will lift us from our current spiritual state to a state where we can become perfected like the Savior.”
(Brother Brian K. Ashton) (Also, see Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 27:13–21).
Simply stated, “The Doctrine of Christ expresses what we must do to receive atoning grace. It is to believe and have faith in Christ, to repent and be baptized, and to receive the Holy Ghost, ‘and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.’ This is the gate, our access to the Savior’s atoning grace and to the strait and narrow path leading to His kingdom.“
Elder D. Todd Christofferson (Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles)
As we faithfully apply the principles and ordinances of the Doctrine of Christ, we will draw ourselves nearer to the Savior and more likely become the worthy disciples He wants us to be. In addition, we will receive greater enlightenment from the Holy Spirit and continue to learn the truth about Jesus Christ: His character, perfections, and attributes. Armed with that additional knowledge, we can exercise greater faith in Him, repent of our sins, follow the Covenant Path, receive spiritual guidance, pattern our lives after Him, and ultimately gain “Exaltation and Eternal Life.”
The basic principles and ordinances of the Doctrine of Christ include:
- Learning of Christ (beginning with a “True Idea” that He actually exists).
- Believing and exercising Faith in Jesus Christ (Faith that He Actually Exists).
- Repenting of our sins and forsake them (making adjustment as necessary).
- Being Baptized in His name by an authorized agent of the Lord.
- Receiving the Gift, Companionship, and Influence of the Holy Spirit (aka the Holy Ghost), and
- Faithfully Enduring well (continuing in righteousness) along the covenant path (to the end) as we follow the Doctrine of Christ and become gradually more like Him (Jesus the Christ). (See Preach My Gospel, Lesson 3, Pg 66; 2 Nephi 9:24; 2 Nephi 31:14-20; 3 Nephi 27:16-17; and, Matthew 10:22.)
The process begins with just the idea of something that is “true” …in this case, the truth that “Jesus Christ actually exists!” (Because it is true, we can begin to ponder and pray about it, and exercise faith in Him.) As we do, our Faith in Christ will begin to grow and increase. As we learn of Him and begin to pattern our lives more and more like Him, we will change for the better. The extent of our change is relative to: 1) Our growing knowledge of Christ’s true Character, Perfections, and Attributes, and 2) Our alignment with Him and His teachings (our faithfully following Him). If we continue patterning our lives after the Savior, we will likely desire to be more like Him. This will require greater change in us (we will repent); and, we will consider making a commitment to Him (we will be Baptized in His Name). When we do this and strive to remain clean from “the blood and sins of this generation,” we will be blessed to receive the Gift and companionship of the Holy Spirit in our lives. With this greater spiritual influence, we will be enlightened more concerning the true nature of Christ; and we will learn more of Him and continue to align ourselves with Him (and our Faith in Him will continue to increase.)
Another important element of the Doctrine of Christ is that it is a cyclical process (spiraling upward) and leading to “Exaltation and Eternal Life.” Each step along the way prepares and leads the faithful seeker of truth along the Covenant Path toward increased spiritual growth. The process leads to Eternal Life with God the Father and His Beloved Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Throughout this cyclical process, we will be modifying our behavior to be more like Jesus Christ. And, if followed diligently, each step will strengthen us through a gradual process of sanctification. The objective of the Doctrine of Christ is to learn of Him, draw nearer to Him, become more like Him (more Christlike), and ultimately gain Eternal Life with God the Eternal Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus the Christ …and, be able to stand in God’s presence with Confidence!
(For more detailed information, please return to The Doctrine of Christ post.)
In the following diagram, I attempt to depict a simplified pattern of this process that will lead sincere followers to Jesus Christ, and on to Eternal Life.
Importantly, as we follow this pattern and strive to be more like the Savior, we will likely discover that we will need to make additional adjustments to be more and more like Jesus Christ (like His true Character, Perfections, and Attributes). As we learn more of Christ, we will likely see there is much more we must do to become “more like Him.” Therefore, we will need to make even more adjustments (many of these additional adjustments will likely be done privately, and at the Sacrament table).
Pressing forward and making progress will also bless the sincere followers of Christ with a greater influence of the Holy Ghost (the Revelator) in their lives. And with that “greater influence,” they will gain increased knowledge and understanding of Jesus Christ. And as mentioned above, armed with new and greater knowledge and understanding, the sincere followers will have additional material upon which to exercise Faith in Christ, and the cyclical nature of the Doctrine of Christ will continue.
Our Faith in Jesus Christ will increase as we learn more of Him and continue to pattern our lives more and more like Him. Our Faith in Christ will increase in accordance with our growing knowledge of Him (His true Character, Perfections, and Attributes), and our faithful obedience to His teachings. In fact, the more we know about our Savior Jesus Christ, the more information we will have upon which to exercise our Faith in Him. There is a direct correlation between: 1. Our knowledge and understanding of Jesus Christ; and 2. Our Faith in Jesus Christ. As we gain greater knowledge of Christ through personal prayerful study and obedience (…and the greater influence of the Holy Ghost), we will be gaining more “Material” upon which to exercise our Faith: i.e.; The more we know of Christ, the greater our faith in Him can be! If we follow the Doctrine of Christ, immerse ourselves diligently in a sincere study of Jesus Christ (learn of Him), exercise Faith in Him, receive the blessings of the saving ordinances, and live a life of obedience to His gospel plan (striving to become Christlike), we will likely remain on the Covenant Path. Each step along the path will strengthen followers of Jesus Christ through a gradual process of spiritual sanctification (another Gift of the Holy Ghost). This process can generally be referred to as: “Enduring well to the End!”
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