Come Follow Me: D&C 93
This chapter builds upon some of the teachings in D&C 88 regarding the Light of Christ. The link to my lesson on that section is below.
"Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who his and cometh unto me, and on my name, and my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall my and that I am;" (vs 1)
This can be read both literally and figuratively. As we seek to become righteous, we begin to see the face of Christ in all things and people around us. In John 14, Philip asked to see the face of the Father. Christ responded by telling him that whoso has seen Christ, has seen the Father. So it is figuratively in this instance. As we become holy, we see God's creations and works, and see Him in the beautiful things he has created: a newborn baby, a majestic waterfall, a serene sunset, a grief stricken widow, the poor and afflicted. The Spirit leads us to think, feel, empathize, and love even as Christ does, helping us to see His countenance in the faces of God's children, because we will have his countenance in our own image (Alma 5).
Yet, there is also a literal component to this scripture. As we learn to follow Christ, we come closer to Him. As wit the Brother of Jared, who was chastised for not praying, once he repented and began to turn his focus back on God, he was readied to see Christ. It requires us to "come unto me," to follow Christ, and be a true disciple.
"And that I am the true that lighteth every man that cometh into the world;
"And that I am the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one—
"The Father he me of his fulness, and the Son because I was in the world and made my , and dwelt among the sons of men." (vx 2-4)
Christ is both Father and Son. He is the Son, because he came to do the will of his Father, atoning for our sins. However, he is also the Father in several ways. First, he is the Father of our salvation. Second, he represents us before the Father as an advocate, while God has given all judgment to Christ. As Christ resurrected, he received a fullness of the Father - becoming one with God in all things as part of the Godhead. The two are so united that they are indistinguishable. What one does, so does the other, because Christ's subsumed his will into the Father's. He is in the Father, and the Father in Him.
He has become the light, the Light of Christ, which is in the world. It is described as our conscience, but it so much more. Without the Light of Christ, there is no order, no Creation, no sentience. I've discussed this in my lesson on D&C 88 in more detail (see link below).
The apostle John saw these things and noted:
"Therefore, in the beginning the was, for he was the Word, even the messenger of salvation—
"The and the Redeemer of the world; the Spirit of truth, who came into the world, because the world was made by him, and in him was the life of men and the light of men.
"The worlds were by him; men were made by him; all things were made by him, and through him, and of him.
"And I, John, that I beheld his , as the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, even the Spirit of truth, which came and dwelt in the flesh, and dwelt among us." (vs 8-11)
In this instance, the word "Word" in the original Greek is "Logos." It is defined as "word," "reason," or "plan." The concept was developed in ancient Greek philosophy and early Christian theology, the divine reason implicit in the cosmos , ordering it and giving it form and meaning. So, Jesus as Logos is the source of all Creation and Order to the chaos in the universe. He gives purpose to all things, otherwise, there would be only entropy and chaos. Matter could not develop into higher forms, including sentient life forms, without Christ as Logos. Life for man and animal and plants would have no meaning without Christ to give it meaning, and to provide the real hope of immortality and eternal life.
Christ brings to us truth and grace. The truth is the light we must follow. His grace he provides to rescue us from Outer Darkness, entropy, chaos, and to provide a path for us to become like Him.
John continues his teaching:
"And I, John, saw that he received not of the at the first, but received for grace;
"And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from to grace, until he received a fulness;
"And thus he was called the , because he received not of the fulness at the first.
"And I, , bear record, and lo, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove, and sat upon him, and there came a voice out of heaven saying: This is my .
"And I, John, bear record that he received a fulness of the glory of the Father;
"And he received , both in heaven and on earth, and the glory of the Father was with him, for he dwelt in him." (vs 12-17)
In the premortal existence, Christ was part of the Godhead and was God. However, he had yet to receive of a fullness. As with us, he required a physical body, testing and trials, and sacrifice.
As Christ grew, he went from "grace to grace" receiving "grace for grace." In other words, as he learned higher things of God, he obeyed those new concepts, commandments and teachings of God the Father, and in doing so was sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise (D&C 88) to higher levels of holiness or grace. Baptism was an ordinance that even Jesus required for salvation, though he had never sinned, but as he obeyed and received the ordinance, he received the Holy Ghost, wherein God was then able to declare Christ as His obedient and holy Son.
Upon resurrecting, Christ received a fullness of the Father, becoming equal with the Father in all things, and fully inheriting the mantle of Eternal Father from his Father, within the relational framework of the Godhead.
We receive the Light of Christ into our lives, making us his children. Christ has the Light of the Father dwelling within him, in this manner causing the Father to dwell within Jesus.
"And it shall come to pass, that if you are faithful you shall receive the of the record of John.
"I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and what you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fulness.
"For if you keep my you shall receive of his , and be in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive for grace." (vs 18-20)
We have yet to receive the fullness of the apostle John's record. Clearly there is some we do not have, or that was altered, because we learn so much about Jesus in the few verses of his full gospel that we receive here. Still, the Gospel of John has great power in helping us to understand the eternal divinity of Jesus Christ. The other three gospels do not hint at Christ's pre-mortal existence, nor his place at the Father's right hand prior to mortality. Nor do they note as succinctly how much the Father loves all his children (John 3:16) and his desire to have us return to Him through Christ.
We come to Heavenly Father through Jesus. We must become the children of Christ, before we become the eternal children of the Father. We first receive a fullness of the Lamb, prior to receiving a fullness of God. As with Jesus, we develop our holiness line upon line, precept upon precept, or going from "grace to grace" receiving "grace for grace."
So, in this instance, what is grace? The first point of grace is a completely free gift. We are resurrected. We receive immortality with nothing required from us, except to be born into mortality.
The second point of grace is nearly free. All we must do to enter into a kingdom of glory and be rescued from hell, is to believe in Christ and repent (see Alma 37).
Then, we develop holiness through Christ. As we begin to be obedient and follow the Savior, he sends his Spirit upon us. It sanctifies us to a holier level. It brings us from the lower levels of heaven to the highest, step by step, or grace for grace. In this, we receive a fullness of the Holy Ghost, then a fullness of Christ, and finally a fullness of the Father.
"And now, verily I say unto you, I was in the with the Father, and am the ;
"And all those who are begotten through me are of the of the same, and are the of the Firstborn.
"Ye were also in the beginning with the Father; that which is , even the Spirit of truth;
"And is of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come;
"And whatsoever is or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a from the beginning.
"The Spirit of is of God. I am the Spirit of truth, and John bore record of me, saying: He a fulness of truth, yea, even of all truth;
"And no man receiveth a unless he keepeth his commandments.
"He that his commandments receiveth and , until he is glorified in truth and all things." (21-28)
Christ is the Firstborn. Through Christ, we can become a part of the family of God, by becoming like Christ. As with Jesus, we are premortal. We were part of the family back then, and we are invited through Christ to return to the family of God. We learn of all the truth by following Jesus, until we receive a fullness of knowledge, wisdom, truth, and glory. We receive truth and light, grace for grace, as we continue moving from grace to grace in Christ.
"Man was also in the with God. , or the of , was not or made, neither indeed can be.
"All truth is independent in that in which God has placed it, to for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.
"Behold, here is the of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is unto them, and they receive not the light.
"And every man whose spirit receiveth not the is under condemnation.
"For man is . The elements are , and and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy;
"And when , man cannot receive a fulness of joy." (vs 29-34)
In these verses, we learn more about our relationship with God. As discussed in my article on D&C 88, we are filled with the Light of Christ. It gives us our individualism and sentience. God places within us enough truth for us to be able to think for ourselves and choose. Unfortunately, even as we have a conscience which teaches us right from wrong, much of mankind chooses not to receive the light. Instead, they choose hatred, anger, jealousy, selfishness and darkness.
Why are those who reject the light under condemnation? It isn't that God is condemning them, but they condemn themselves. Instead of following Christ back into the celestial family, they are creating a path towards chaos, evil and darkness. They cannot go where God is, because they could not bear to dwell in his glory. In choosing evil, mankind chooses a different kingdom and path than the one God invites us to follow.
The elements, or matter, is eternal. It coexists with God. It is the one part of us that God has not created. Spirit, on the other hand, IS created by God. It begins as Intelligence and is formed into the spirit children of God, with the ability to choose, have individualism, and think as sentient beings. Combined together, we have beings that are only partially created by God, with physical bodies formed from the elements. We have to learn to overcome the natural man, the physical elements, which make up a part of whom we are. Incredibly, we cannot receive a fullness without engaging the elements and the spirit. We cannot obtain the celestial realm without making ourselves holy through Christ.
Yet, it is only through following Christ that we can ever hope to obtain a fullness of joy. Without embracing a celestial lifestyle, we can obtain a lesser joy in a lesser kingdom.
"The of God is , or, in other words, and truth.
"Light and truth forsake that .
"Every of man was in the beginning; and God having man from the , men became again, in their infant state, before God.
"And that cometh and away light and truth, through , from the children of men, and because of the of their fathers.
"But I have commanded you to bring up your in and truth." (vs 36-40)
In my article on D&C 88, I discuss in depth the importance of the Light of Christ and how it may work. Here we see more information regarding the light. Another name for it is "Intelligence." If this teaching is viewed literally, Intelligence is made from "Light and Truth." The Light of Christ fills the immensity of space. It infuses all things with order, allowing all things to follow/obey the commandments of God. In the Creation, we learn that the gods waited for the elements to obey their will (Abraham 4:18).
The Light of Christ infuses the elements with order and energy. Darkness brings entropy and chaos. This light and truth leads us to receiving the Holy Ghost, the first member of the Godhead, and leads us on the path to knowing the Savior and the Father.
As parents ourselves, we are commanded to bring light and truth into the lives of our children. Are we doing that? Do we help them find the joy in seeking the Savior and his light? Or are our children left to their own devices (including cell phones and the internet) to find what they can in the darkness and chaos?
It isn't an issue of cramming commandments down our children's throats. It is all about teaching them that God and Jesus have an eternal and immense love for them, and they wish to share that love with us. To do so, we must follow Christ, so we can experience the spiritual grace, light and truth that he offers us. When our children can wake up every day and know how marvelously blessed and loved they are, they will want to follow in Jesus' footsteps.
As we move from grace to grace, receiving grace for grace, we are filled with greater light and truth, intelligence. We are filled more and more with joy and the goodness of God, until we receive a fullness of His glory through Jesus Christ.
Link to my article, Come Follow Me: D&C 88