We Finished Our First Week!
The title page of the Book of Mormon was written by Moroni in ancient times, long before it was published in 1829. That fact alone makes it an interesting read. I included a screenshot so you can see what stands out.
Do you see it?
Jesus Is the Christ ◈ the Eternal God
In the same way, Christ is the center focus of the title page; our Savior is also the center focus of the entire Book of Mormon.
The Come, Follow Me manual lists eight verses that capture the Book of Mormon’s chief objectives. One of them is Alma 5:48
I say unto you, that I know of myself that whatsoever I shall say unto you, concerning that which is to come, is true; and I say unto you, that I know that Jesus Christ shall come, yea, the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace, and mercy, and truth. And behold, it is he that cometh to take away the sins of the world, yea, the sins of every man who steadfastly believeth on his name. (Alma 5:48)
Steadfast means dutifully firm and unwavering.
Steadfast is the opposite teaching of mainstream Christianity. It’s also the emphasis on being steadfast that makes us heretics to a good share of them.
We believe Jesus Christ meant it when He commanded us to KEEP His commandments, and we take his works-based sayings in the Four Gospels to heart (John 14:15).
“If you love me, keep my commandments.”
We believe in being steadfastly obedient. Dutifully firm in following the Savior’s footsteps.
It’s the opposite of today’s most popular Christian version of ‘grace alone.’
The entire grievance and criticism of the rest of the Christian world pivots on our rejection of their version of “grace alone.” They’ll may initially have other protests, but it always ends up with their objection to our emphasis on commandments, ordinances, and good works. Christ emphasized those, but it doesn’t matter to them because of ‘grace alone.’
So Why the Big Fuss?
From what I can see, their lack of dedication to Christ’s words scares them and pricks their conscience.
Why? Any Christian must sense they’re taking a massive gamble by dismissing Christ’s good-works-based sermons and teachings found in the Four Gospels. They have shelved Christ’s doctrine in favor of a few verses by a mere mortal (Paul) who seemed to say ‘grace alone’ only 25 years later. They decided that commandments, good works, and ordinances were unnecessary. Some preach against baptism even.
Those are some long odds. There’s no security in it because if they’re wrong, they’re really wrong. ‘Grace alone’ was never taught by Jesus, and the precept stands on thin ice.
Is it reasonable to say a man’s words are more significant than a God’s? No, it’s bonkers in any corner of the Universe, No matter how you look at it.
Furthermore, ‘grace alone’ is a spiritually harmful manmade precept. The permissiveness of it has dramatically reduced the amount of good works this world would see.
If my teenage son came to me and said, “Mom, should I mow the lawn”? and I said, “It doesn’t matter one way or the other – you get credit either way.” Which will he most likely do?
Our close adherence to Christ’s earthly ministry in our daily lives is out of our love for the Savior. We understand works don’t save us. Only Christ’s grace is powerful enough to save us – but we also know Jesus asked us to keep His commandments, ordinances, and good works if we love Him. He also makes them a condition to be considered His followers.
Endure to the End
Christ uses a similar phrase to ‘steadfastly’ when He says endure to the end.
13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Matthew 24:13-14)
Everything derogatory they say about us like we worship a different Jesus, comes down to that one underlying point – the works vs. grace debate.
But it’s only manmade wordplay. Those who claim it’s either works or grace set up a false dilemma (a false either/or condition). It was never works OR grace. The one does not preclude the other. The repeated message of the Four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) is that they are an inseparable pair.
James, the brother of Jesus, articulates it perfectly:
So, what did the title page impress on me this year? Jesus Christ is the center of ALL. I strive to steadfastly make Him the center of my daily life, thoughts, choices, and actions.