Becoming Perfect in Christ

Becoming Perfect in Christ

On the Viewpoint on Mormonism radio shows airing the week of August 18, Bill and Eric provide a number of quotes from LDS leaders in their review of the July 2014 Ensign article by Seventy Gerrit W. Gong titled “Becoming Perfect in Christ” (pp. 14-19) We must remember that this is found in a official church magazine by a General Authority. We encourage you to look up the article for yourself. In addition, we quoted from a number of LDS leaders and sources, which we include here. We encourage you to look these up for the context. Here are the quotes given during the week’s broadcasts.

Moroni 10:32

“Elder B.H. Roberts of the Seventy (1857-1933) explained how the unconditional nature of the Atonement in regard to Adam’s transgression and its conditional nature regarding men’s personal sins is a doctrine ‘peculiar to ‘Mormonism’…and is derived almost wholly from the teachings of the Book of Mormon. In that distinction the beauty and glory of the Atonement, the balanced claims of justice and mercy shine forth as no where else, even in holy writ, — much less in the uninspired writings of men. It may be regarded as the ‘Mormon’ contribution to views of the Atonement of Christ, for it is to be found no where else except in Mormon literature.’ The perfect relationship between the atoning grace of Christ and the obedient efforts of mankind is powerfully stated by Nephi: ‘We know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do’ (2 Nephi 25:23). Furthermore, we are invited to ‘come unto Christ, and be perfected in him.’ When we deny ourselves ‘of all ungodliness,’ then and only ‘then is his grace sufficient’ for us (Moroni 10:32)” (BYU Professor Clyde J. Williams, Plain and Precious Truths Restored, Ensign, October 2006, p.53).

“We must do more than just say we believe in Jesus Christ; we must follow him. All people, regardless of their level of righteousness, will be saved from death because of the Resurrection of Christ. However, in order to attain the highest degree of glory in the resurrection, we need to ‘come unto Christ, and be perfected in him’ (Moroni 10:32). We come unto Christ by having faith in him, repenting of our sins, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, receiving other saving priesthood ordinances, obeying the commandments, and keeping the covenants we make with our Heavenly Father. How we live does make a difference” (Preparing for Exaltation Teacher’s Manual, p.39).

“Indeed, it is only after a person has so performed a lifetime of works and faithfulness—only after he has come to deny himself of all ungodliness and every worldly lust—that the grace of God, that spiritual increment of power, is efficacious. In the language of Moroni: ‘Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ’ (Moroni 10:32; italics added)”  (Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon 1:295).

Eternal life is a gift (see D&C 6:13; D&C 14:7). People do not earn eternal life-there is no scriptural reference whatsoever to anyone earning the right to go where Gods and angels are. Rather, according to the words of the prophets-it is so attested in the scriptures almost a hundred timespeople inherit eternal life.  After we have done all that we can do, after we have denied ourselves of ungodliness and worldly lusts, then is the grace of God sufficient for us; then we are sanctified in Christ and eventually made perfect in Christ (see 2 Nephi 25:23; Moroni 10:32)” (Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon 2:258.)

“Moroni beautifully concludes the Book of Mormon by inviting all to ‘come unto Christ, and be perfected in him’ (Moroni 10:32). To do so, we must deny ourselves of all ungodliness, especially unchecked carnal appetites. We must love God with all our might, mind and strength, putting him above worldly approval. We will then be sanctified through the grace of Christ” (Area Seventy D. Chad Richardson, “Earthly Choices, Eternal Consequences, Ensign, July 2004, p.21. Italics in original).

“We must do more than just say we believe in Jesus Christ; we must follow him. All people, regardless of their level of righteousness, will be saved from death because of the Resurrection of Christ. However, in order to attain the highest degree of glory in the resurrection, we need to ‘come unto Christ, and be perfected in him’ (Moroni 10:32). We come unto Christ by having faith in him, repenting of our sins, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, receiving other saving priesthood ordinances, obeying the commandments, and keeping the covenants we make with our Heavenly Father. How we live does make a difference” (Preparing for Exaltation Teacher’s Manual, p.39).

 “I don’t always need to sprint. Occasionally, it will be all I can do to simply face the finish line. Doing our best to move forward — no matter what speed ‘our best’ is — is OK. Our efforts can be made perfect because the Lord’s grace is sufficient for us all (see Moroni 10:32)” (Amanda Dierenfeldt, “To Perfection,” Ensign, March 2009, p.66).

“Be Ye Perfect”

“Christ came not only into the world to make an atonement for the sins of mankind but to set an example before the world of the standard of perfection of God’s law and the obedience to the Father. In his Sermon on the Mount the Master has given us some­what of a revelation of his own character, which was perfect, or that might be said to be an autobiography, every syllable of which he had written down in deeds,’ and in so doing has given us a blueprint for our own lives” (Harold B. Lee, The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles manual, p. 57).

“This progress toward eternal life is a matter of achieving perfec­tion. Living all the commandments guarantees total forgiveness of sins and assures one of exaltation through that perfection which comes by complying with the formula the Lord gave us. In his Sermon on the Mount he made the command to all men: ‘Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.’ (Matt. 5:48.) Being perfect means to triumph over sin. This is a mandate from the Lord. He is just and wise and kind. He would never require anything from his children which was not for their benefit and which was not attainable. Perfection therefore is an achievable goal.” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgive­ness, pp. 208-209).

 “There is not one requirement of the Lord that is non-essential; every requirement that He has made of us is essential to our per­fection and sanctification, to prepare us to enjoy celestial glory” (Brigham Young, November 6, 1863, Journal of Discourses, 10:284).

“Every principle of the gospel has been revealed to us for our in­dividual advancement and for our individual perfection, but it is the business of the devil to blind men’s eyes to these facts” (He­ber J. Grant, March 17, 1904, The Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star 66:168).

“In the context of the spirit of forgiveness, one good brother asked me, ‘Yes, that is what ought to be done, but how do you do it? Doesn’t that take a superman?’ ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘but we are com­manded to be supermen. Said the Lord, ‘Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.’ (Matt. 5:48.) We are
gods in embryo, and the Lord demands perfection of us’” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 286).

“Be perfect here? Yes, it is man’s privilege, the Latter-day Saints believe, to be as perfect in his sphere as God our eternal Father is in his sphere, or as Jesus in his sphere, or as the angels in their spheres. Said Jesus to his disciples —‘Be ye perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect.’ Perfection, then, is to a certain ex­tent possible on earth for those who will live, lives that are agree­able to the mind and will of God” (George Q. Cannon, October 8, 1874, Journal of Discourses 17:231).

“I would emphasize that the teachings of Christ that we should be­come perfect were not mere rhetoric. He meant literally that it is the right of mankind to become like the Father and like the Son, having overcome human weaknesses and developed attributes of divinity” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 26).

“God our Father, and Jesus Christ, our Lord, have marked the way to perfection. They beckon us to follow eternal verities and to become perfect, as they are perfect (see Matthew 5:48; 3 Nephi 12:48)” (Thomas S. Monson, “An Invitation to Exaltation,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May 1988, p. 54).

“The miracle of forgiveness is available to all of those who turn from their evil doings and return no more, because the Lord has said in a revelation to us in our day: ‘Go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth [meaning again] shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God’ (D&C 82:7). Have that in mind, all of you who may be troubled with a burden of sin” (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, p. 120. Brackets in original).

“God cannot forgive unless the transgressor shows a true repen­tance which spreads to all areas of his life” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 203. See also Doctrines of the Gospel Stu­dent Manual: Religion 231 and 232, p. 41).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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