Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - Moroni 7

The work and words of Mormon have been so valuable to millions, but I wonder how much more valuable and cherished they were by his son, who, all alone and hunted by the Lamanites, had his father's words to comfort him. My guess is that they had special meaning, and Moroni turned to his father's words often.

Faith, hope, and charity are gifts of the Spirit given to those who humbly come to Christ.
Gifts of the Spirit can help us avoid being deceived by Satan and help us better understand the Lord’s promptings. These are the real treasures to be sought.
These gifts work together.  You need all three.  A rope is made of strands that are intertwined. Each strand gives strength to the others. Faith, hope, and charity are similar. They are interdependent and strengthen one another. Encourage students to seek to gain or strengthen these gifts in their lives.
Here again, we read about fruit (we read yesterday about the 'product' or fruit of the condition of our hearts.)

It is not enough to have good intentions alone.  And it is not enough to have good works alone. One cannot be without another- or it is not counted unto him for righteousness (7).

These verses are not so much about the condition and intent of the saints, (he already established in verses 3 & 4 that he assumes we are peaceable followers of Christ) but those of whom we may not know.

Verse 16 is the key to judge good s. evil. We are all given the light of Christ that we may understand the difference: if it persuades you to do good, it's of Christ.  That's pretty simple.

Too simple? Not really- not in the world that we live in today. There are so many things pulling us in so many directions. There are things that we deem as good that pull us away from Christ (hobbies, work, friends). It's important that we continually see that light of Christ, that we can be aware and recognize the things that bring us closer to Him, or point us in the other direction.
Charity means more than acts of service.

 Joseph Smith said, ‘If we are not drawing towards God in principle we are going away from Him and drawing towards the devil.’ 

Dallin H. Oaks shared this thought in his October 2000 conference talk: “Final judgment  is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts- what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effects of our acts and thoughts- what we have become

“We are challenged to move through a process of conversion toward that status and condition called eternal life. This is achieved not just by doing what is right, but by doing it for the right reason- or the pure love of Christ.” (The Challenge to Become, Ensign, Nov 2000)

I love how Mormon writes. He poses a question, then answers it.

How can ye lay hold on every good thing? (20)  By faith (26)

Have miracles ceased because Christ ascended into heaven? (27) No (29) (37)

Have angels ceased appearing among men? (36) No. (37)

How can we obtain the faith, if we don'y have hope? (40)  What should we hope for then? (41) We should have hope of eternal life through Christ (41)

A few other really cool points that are sprinkled throughout here:

Angels are subject to the Savior, and minister to us here on earth at His command  (30)

Angels appear to us by our faith (37) every form of godliness (30). Not sure the exact meaning- but I love the phrase. We are all created in His image, and I assume it means that the greater the faith, the more we look like Him.

The words of Christ have power to save, ONLY if we have faith in them (38)


To me, hope is a powerful word. In my mind, hope is more about the outcome, faith is more about the person.

Let me explain: We have hope that we can be healed, that we can be saved, that we can feel peace. We have hope in a better world, a better time, a better us.

That hope drives us to find a way for that to happen. We find that those things can all happen through Christ. the Spirit testifies that to us on some level, and we begin to have faith in Him, that the things hoped for can come true.

Hope is deeper when we have hope IN Christ.  Hope is not a wish .  hope is a POWER.

With hope and faith combined, we put ourselves in the position to have charity- a condition of the heart when hope meets faith and they grow together.

This condition of the heart moves us change our perspectives, to see ourselves and others differently. We are happier, we understand more, we rejoice in truth more.  And we hope more. (46)  And the cycle goes on and on. Forever (47).

And how do we get this? Prayer (48).  We seek all three.

Our hope can lead to faith in Him, which can lead to charity, which can lead us to enabling the power of the Atonement on our lives.

That is all He wants- for us to be like Him (48).


Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:

“One [meaning of charity or ‘the pure love of Christ’] is the kind of merciful, forgiving love Christ’s disciples should have one for another....
“The greater definition of ‘the pure love of Christ,’ however, is not what we as Christians try but largely fail to demonstrate toward others but rather what Christ totally succeeded in demonstrating toward us. True charity has been known only once. It is shown perfectly and purely in Christ’s unfailing, ultimate, and atoning love for us. ... It is that charity—his pure love for us—without which we would be nothing, hopeless, of all men and women most miserable. Truly, those found possessed of the blessings of his love at the last day—the Atonement, the Resurrection, eternal life, eternal promise—surely it shall be well with them.
“This does not in any way minimize the commandment that we are to try to acquire this kind of love for one another. We should ‘pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that [we] may be filled with this love’ [ Moroni 7:48 ; see also 1Corinthians 13:4–5, 7–8 ]. ... As Christ lived so should we live, and as Christ loved so should we love. But the ‘ pure love of Christ’ Mormon spoke of is precisely that—Christ’s love. With that divine gift, that redeeming bestowal, we have everything; without it we have nothing and ultimately are nothing, except in the end ‘devils [and] angels to a devil’ [ 2Nephi 9:9 ]” ( Christ and the New Covenant, 336–37).
Attitude determines altitude. Your attitude in life may very well determine your altitude in the eternities.

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