Except Men Shall Have Charity They Cannot Inherit the Father’s Mansions

Thinking that he would have no more occasion to add to the Gold Plates, the prophet Moroni records a prayer to the Lord and bids farewell to his readers.

“…I…remember that thou hast said that thou hast prepared a house for man, yea, even among the mansions of thy Father, in which man might have a more excellent hope; wherefore man must hope, or he cannot receive an inheritance in the place which thou hast prepared. And again, I remember that thou hast said that thou hast loved the world, even unto the laying down of thy life for the world, that thou mightest take it again to prepare a place for the children of men. And now I know this love which thou hast had for the children of men is charity; wherefore, except men shall have charity they cannot inherit that place which thou hast prepared in the mansions of thy Father. Wherefore, I know by this thing which thou hast said, that if the Gentiles have not charity, because of our weakness, that thou wilt prove them, and take away their talent, yea, even that which they have received, and give unto them who shall have more abundantly.” (Ether 12:32-35)

“And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord that he would give unto the Gentiles grace, that they might have charity. And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: If they have not charity it mattereth not unto thee, thou hast been faithful; wherefore thy garments shall be made clean. And because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father.” (Ether 12:36-37)

“And now I, Moroni bid farewell unto the Gentiles, yea, and also unto my brethren whom I love, until we shall meet before the judgment seat of Christ, where all men shall know that my garments are not spotted with your blood. And then shall ye know that I have seen Jesus, and that he hath talked with me face to face in plain humility, even as a man telleth another in mine own language, concerning these things: And only a few have I written, because of my weakness in writing. And now I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be abide in you forever. Amen.” (Ether 12:38-41)

Questions:

-What is the sacrifice that God requires of his children now that the ancient practice of animal sacrifice, as prescribed in the law of Moses, has been done away?

-Is pride, and distain for others, an easy thing to let go of in order to offer a broken heart and a contrite spirit to the Lord?

-Would there be any hope for humanity if Christ chose to condemn us rather than doing all in His power to emphasize the good in us and lift us?

-Will a person ever be right with the Lord if they don’t take on His name and reflect His pure love in the way they live with and view others?

I Have Given You the Commandments Therefore Keep the Commandments

After teaching His gospel to a group of Lehi’s descendant’s (shortly after His Resurrection). Jesus Christ made the following statement:

“Behold, I have given unto you the commandments; therefore keep the commandments.” (3 Nephi 15:10)

Below are all the commandments that Christ gave to the group:

“…Ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings.” (3 Nephi 9:19)

“…Ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” (3 Nephi 9:20)

Repent , and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved.” (3 Nephi 9:22)

“…On this wise shall ye baptize; and there shall be no disputations among you. Verily I say unto you, that whoso repenteth of his sins through your words, and desireth to be baptized in my name, on this wise shall ye baptize them—Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them. And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying: Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. And then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water. And after this manner shall be baptize in my name…And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize. And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been, neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been.” (3 Nephi 11:22-28)

“…This is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another, but this is my doctrine that such things should be done away.” (3 Nephi 11:30)

“…The Father commandeth all men everywhere to repent and believe in me.” (3 Nephi 11:32)

“…Ye must repent and become as a little child and be baptized in my name…” (3 Nephi 11:37)

“…Go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth.” (3 Nephi 11:41)

“…I give unto you to be the salt of the earth…” (3 Nephi 12:13)

“…I give unto you to be the light of this people.” (3 Nephi 12:14)

“…Let you light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (3 Nephi 12:16)

“…Ye shall believe in me, and…repent of your sins, and come unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” (3 Nephi 12:19)

“…Thou shalt not kill…” (3 Nephi 12:21)

“…If ye shall come unto me, or shall desire to come unto me, and rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee—Go thy way unto thy brother, and first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I will receive you.” (3 Nephi 12:23-24)

“Agree with thine adversary quickly while thou art in the way with him…” (3 Nephi 12:25)

“…Thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman, to lust after her, hath committed adultery already in his heart. Behold, I give unto you a commandment, that ye suffer none of these things to enter into your heart.” (3 Nephi 12:27-29)

“…Swear not at all; neither by heaven for it is God’s throne; Nor by the earth for it is his footstool; Neither shalt thou swear by the head, because thou canst not make one hair black or white; But let your communications be Yea, yea; Nay, nay; for whatever cometh more than these is evil.” (3 Nephi 12:34-37)

“…Ye shall not resist evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also; And if any man will sue thee at the law and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also; And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn thou not away.” (3 Nephi 12:39-42)

“…Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you…” (3 Nephi 12:44)

“…I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” (3 Nephi 12:48)

“Verily, verily, I say that I would that ye should do alms unto the poor; but take heed that ye do not your alms before men to be seen of them…Therefore, when ye shall do your alms do not sound a trumpet before you, as will hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men…But when thou doest alms let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth; That thine alms may be in secret…” (3 Nephi 13:1-2)

“And when thou prayest thou shalt not do as the hypocrites, for they love to pray, standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men…But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut the door, pray to thy Father who is in secret…But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen, for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them, for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask him.” (3 Nephi 13:5-8)

“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen. For, if ye forgive men their trespasses your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (3 Nephi 13:9-15)

“…When ye fast be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance, for they disfigure their faces that they may appear unto men to fast…But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father, who seeth in secret…” (3 Nephi 13:16-18)

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal; But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…” (3 Nephi 13:19-20)

“…Judge not that ye be not judged.” (3 Nephi 14:2)

“…First cast the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” (3 Nephi 14:5)

“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine…” (3 Nephi 14:6)

Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (3 Nephi 14:7)

“…All things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them…” (3 Nephi 14:12)

“Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, which leadeth to destruction…” (3 Nephi 14:13)

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (3 Nephi 14:15)

 “Look unto me and endure to the end, and ye shall live…” (3 Nephi 15:9)

Questions:

-Are the above commandments in force now in our time?

-How many of them only apply to those who have made a covenant to follow Christ?

Ye Shall Offer For a Sacrifice unto Me a Broken Heart and a Contrite Spirit

Christ teaches the descendants of Lehi (who were living in the Americas shortly after His death and Resurrection) that He has fulfilled the Law of Moses and that physical blood sacrifices were to be replaced with a new kind of sacrifice.

“…Ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings. And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost…” (3 Nephi 9:19-20)

Questions:

– How does one offer a broken heart and a contrite spirit to God?

Unto Him That Has Faith unto Repentance is Brought about the Great and Eternal Plan of Salvation

Amulek teaches (in about 74 B.C.) that the intent of Christ’s Atonement is to bring mercy to as many as will receive it.

“…He shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance. And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of salvation.” (Alma 34:15-16)

Questions:

-Do you desire to be encircled in the arms of Christ’s mercy?

-How can one apply faith unto repentance in order to find this precious mercy?

There Can Be Nothing Short of An Infinite Atonement Which Will Suffice for the Sins of the World

Amulek (in about 74 B.C.) teaches that only Jesus Christ (a God filled with infinite and eternal power) could make the sacrifice necessary to offer salvation to the inhabitants of the Earth.  

“…It is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice…there can be nothing short of an infinite atonement which will suffice for the sins of the world…and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal.” (Alma 34:10-14)

Questions:
-Do you believe God forgives sin without reference to the demands of justice?

-Does Christ’s willingness to meet those terrible demands help you understand how deeply He loves all who have ever lived?

How Great the Importance to Make These Things Known unto the Inhabitants of the Earth

Lehi continues to teach his son, Jacob, about Christ’s Atonement and all of mankind’s need for it:

“…He offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered. Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah…” (2 Nephi 2:7-8)

Questions:

-What does Lehi mean when he states that only those with a broken heart and a contrite spirit can receive Christ’s redemption from sin?

-Does “heart” in this passage refer to our personal will versus God’s will? Is it good to break down our will to make way for God’s will in our lives?

-Can one have anything but a “broken heart” when he or she truly keeps in remembrance the price paid by Christ to redeem those who choose to follow and obey Him?

-How is being prideful (which is the opposite of having a broken heart and a contrite spirit) a false state of being?

-Who among the inhabitants of the earth has God’s law? Who, if any, does not have the law?

Teachings of Latter-day Prophets, Seers, and Revelators:

“I believe that none of us can conceive the full import of what Christ did for us in Gethsemane, but I am grateful every day of my life for His atoning sacrifice in our behalf.

“At the last moment, He could have turned back. But He did not. He passed beneath all things that He might save all things. In doing so, He gave us life beyond this mortal existence. He reclaimed us from the Fall of Adam.

“To the depths of my very soul, I am grateful to Him. He taught us how to live. He taught us how to die. He secured our salvation” (Thomas S. Monson, “At Parting,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 114).

Teachings of the Seventy

“What are a broken heart and a contrite spirit? … The Savior’s perfect submission to the Eternal Father is the very essence of a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Christ’s example teaches us that a broken heart is an eternal attribute of godliness. When our hearts are broken, we are completely open to the Spirit of God and recognize our dependence on Him for all that we have and all that we are. The sacrifice so entailed is a sacrifice of pride in all its forms. Like malleable clay in the hands of a skilled potter, the brokenhearted can be molded and shaped in the hands of the Master.

“A broken heart and a contrite spirit are also preconditions to repentance [see 2 Nephi 2:6–7]. … When we sin and desire forgiveness, a broken heart and a contrite spirit mean to experience ‘godly sorrow [that] worketh repentance’ (2 Corinthians 7:10). This comes when our desire to be cleansed from sin is so consuming that our hearts ache with sorrow and we yearn to feel at peace with our Father in Heaven. Those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit are willing to do anything and everything that God asks of them, without resistance or resentment. We cease doing things our way and learn to do them God’s way instead. In such a condition of submissiveness, the Atonement can take effect and true repentance can occur” (Bruce D. Porter, “A Broken Heart and a Contrite Spirit,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2007, 32).

Video from Book of Mormon Central: