32 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; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.
The beautiful thing about this verse is that it focuses on being perfect in Christ rather than simply perfect in and of ourselves. Through the atonement, we can be justified and made pure through Christ’s grace. He is the source of our joy. He is the source of our consolation. It is only through him that we have a chance to come back to God. It is by his grace that we can become perfect. That is the message that ends the Book of Mormon. And it is a perfect capstone to a book that has been obsessively focused on Christ. Moroni at the end of his life and his work wants us to know that it is all about Christ. He does not want us to forget that central truth. Nothing else matters more to him than that.
6 And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God.
25 My son, be faithful in Christ; and may not the things which I have written grieve thee, to weigh thee down unto death; but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long-suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever.
I love the message of hope from a father to his son. Mormon wanted his son to know that no matter what happened, he should continue onward with hope. Even when there is no cause for hope, we must continue to act diligently and to do the best we can. We must continue to act in faith. We must continue to be unyielding in our efforts. If we yield, we are hurting others and hurting ourselves.
If we remain faithful in Christ, then there is a promise that we will overcome Christ. What’s more, our faith is far more likely to help lift others out. Loss of faith weakens our effectiveness and our ability to serve others effectively.
25 And the first fruits of repentance is baptism; and baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins;
26 And the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God.
This is one of my absolute favorite verses in the Book of Mormon. I love how baptism is described as a fruit of faith and repentance. That desire flows when we exercise faith and repent of our sins and transgressions. And with that desire, we are motivated to follow God. Therefore, we become humble and meek. Therefore, we are able to feel the Holy Ghost and to be filled with hope. And that hope and love can keep us motivated until the end.
2 My beloved son, Moroni, I rejoice exceedingly that your Lord Jesus Christ hath been mindful of you, and hath called you to his ministry, and to his holy work.
3 I am mindful of you always in my prayers, continually praying unto God the Father in the name of his Holy Child, Jesus, that he, through his infinite goodness and grace, will keep you through the endurance of faith on his name to the end.
I love the fact that Mormon uses the same language to describe his care for his son and the love that the savior has for him. The idea that the creator of the world, the Lord of Israel, and the savior of all mankind is personally mindful of me is staggering. I’m so grateful to know my savior and to feel of his constant nurturing love for me. I love knowing that my calling and path in life is inspired by one with infinite goodness and grace.
3 Wherefore, I would speak unto you that are of the church, that are the peaceable followers of Christ, and that have obtained a sufficient hope by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord, from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with him in heaven.
4 And now my brethren, I judge these things of you because of your peaceable walk with the children of men.
5 For I remember the word of God which saith by their works ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also.
I find it striking that Moroni sees the ultimate test of discipleship as being “peaceable.” For Moroni, a lack of contention is the most significant indicator that one has obtained hope in Christ.
We need to examine ourselves to see if we follow a peaceable walk. If we are instead prone to incessant debating, quarreling and seeking to prove a point, then we are not prepared to enter into the rest of the Lord. We cannot return to his presence while that spirit of contention remains rooted within us.
1 And now I speak concerning baptism. Behold, elders, priests, and teachers were baptized; and they were not baptized save they brought forth fruit meet that they were worthy of it.
2 Neither did they receive any unto baptism save they came forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnessed unto the church that they truly repented of all their sins.
3 And none were received unto baptism save they took upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end.
We looked at these verses as a missionary to help decide whether our investigators were ready for baptism.
1) An individual must come forward with a repentant heart and spirit. To me, that means that one has to truly desire to become justified with God by casting off one’s sins. One cannot rationalize unrighteousness and be fully cleansed through baptism. Rationalization is the enemy of repentance.
2) An individual must bring forth fruit. For me, this means living consistent with one’s beliefs and conforming to the commandments of God. One can say that they will keep the commandments, but unless they do so before baptism, they will be unlikely to do so afterwards
3) Repentance must not merely be private but must also have a public dimension. That’s why the ordinance of baptism is a public ceremony involving witnesses. When we are publicly committed to a course of action, we are much more likely to follow through. Public repentance also makes our commitment seem so much more tangible.
4) An individual seeking baptism must understand from the getgo that he is making a lifelong commitment to serve God and participate in his Church. If individuals are baptized seeing baptism as an end rather than thebeginning of a journey, then they are unlikely to persist.
3 O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
2 O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee, in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
As I reread today the familiar words of the sacrament prayers, what stood out to me was the repetition of the words remember and remembrance. I am grateful for the opportunity each week to partake of the sacrament because doing so allows me to remember the Lord and his blessings on a regular basis. Of course, I need to work hard to remember him constantly, but it is still nice to have a regular day of remembrance and to partake weekly of the emblems of the savior.
I long each week for the comfort that comes from partaking of the bread and water. I notice how much of a difference it makes in my life. The blessings of the sacrament prayer are lofty and I don’t feel like I’m at the point where I can always have his spirit with me. But the impact of the sacrament is nevertheless incredible. I am so appreciative for it.