Thursday, March 10, 2011

Why Works?

I would like to start this post by posing a question. What is the point of Jesus Christ teaching and ministering about loving your neighbor, God, enemies, etc. If he would abolish the need for such actions through his pain and suffering in the Garden, his dying on the cross, and his resurrection three days later? Why teach the parable of the good Samaritan? (Luke 10:30-35). If it doesn't matter, why would Christ teach it? It is because Jesus Christ never, took away our personal responsibility to do good works in this life.

Why the parable of the ten lepers? It is interesting to note that ten were healed, yet one was more than healed; he was made whole. Note that in order to be made whole he did something. He turned, fell down, and gave thanks. It was in response to doing something that made him whole, in which the other nine lepers did not.

Christ told the one: "Thy faith hath made thee whole." One might ask, didn't the other nine have faith? In reality, no, they did not. They believed he could heal them and he did, but only to the one who manifested his belief through action (faith), was made whole. Whole implies being pure, cleansed, sanctified. Things that we must obtain in order to, once again, dwell in the Kingdom of God.

This particular parable helps teach us that faith is an action. Acting on a belief is what brings us the blessings attributed to that belief. Jesus Christ, himself, being the great exemplar of how we should live our lives said: "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day..." (John 9:4-5) The apostle Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 3:8, that people would receive their reward from their own labors and not the labor Christ performed on our behalf. Christ's labor will cover our shortcomings in life as we strive to be perfect as he commanded in Matthew 5:48 and when we fall short we can repent because of Christ's sacrifice.

Christ taught in Luke 6:35 to "love your enemies, do good, and lend... and your reward shall be great and ye shall be the children of the highest (God)." What does it mean to be the children of God? Romans 8: 17 tells that "if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ..." An heir is someone who receives all that their predecessor has. We have the ability to enjoy all that God enjoys if we follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives. We must, as Luke 6:35 suggests, work and strive to be as Christ-like as possible each day.

It is through our savior, Jesus Christ, that we can return to live with God. Without him, our works would be meaningless. For, without Christ we would be required to live a perfect life and all mankind would have all been damned to hell since the beginning of time. However, God is a just God and full of love. Therefore, he would prepare a way for us to return to him; a way to be cleansed of our sins. Therefore as a prophet of God once declared:

"We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we prophesy of Christ... that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins (2 Nephi 25:26). Jesus Christ did not, however, nullify our actions by his suffering. If that were true, than he would have nullified with one act, everything he taught concerning works and the rewards associated with those works, over the course of his three year ministry!

This would mean Christ would have taught false principles during his three year ministry; making him an imperfect being. However, as a representative of the Lord, Jesus Christ, I testify that he was and is perfect. That his suffering was central to our returning home to God and that Christ never took away our responsibility to "work the works of [our] father..." It does, however, allow us to overcome our sins, faults, imperfections, etc. Allowing us to receive our reward from God through Jesus Christ, and to be "joint-heirs with Christ" in the kingdom of God. I so testify to all, that this is the truth of God. "That this life is the time for men (and women) to prepare to meet God; Yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors" (Alma 34: 32) And I do so in the sacred name of our savior & redeemer, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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