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Friday, March 22, 2013

158: THE SACRIFICE OF ALL EARTHLY THINGS


"Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth's sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do his will, he does know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not, nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life."
Joseph Smith, Lectures on Faith 6:7


The way in which we gain faith is by making sacrifices, faith is obtained in no other way. The Ancients were examples of this kind of sacrifice which produces faith. The kind of faith like Abraham means that we have to put ourself into God’s hands and do what God wants us to do, no matter what, no matter how painful, no how much we may dislike it, or wish that cup might be removed from us.  The purpose of making sacrifices is to obtain faith, and the purpose of obtaining faith is so that we can then make even greater sacrifice, and the purpose of the greater sacrifices is so that we can obtain greater faith, and the purpose of obtaining greater faith is so that we are prepared then to make greater sacrifice still until at last we are prepared to lay everything, our own life not spared on the altar in order to do what the Lord would have us do, no matter how much we may not want to do what the Lord would have us do.

So that, nothing doubting, we are approved of God and doing as He would have us do. Everything else is incidental to that process, everything else. Therefore, the final purpose of sacrifice is to know God. Because that is only way that anyone including the Ancients obtained the faith necessary to know God. No one is going to Them and Their Glory until they have like manner made the same sacrifice in order to obtain the same faith that allowed them to be what the Lord would have them be. And part of that process involves being completely misunderstood, rejected, despised by people who ought to know better. And then, being tempted to step to the left or to the right on a path that is intended to only be strait and narrow. And its every bit of it requires you to focus on one and only One Thing. Jesus Christ. That is what the Lord would have you do and be, nothing else, and not to try and make more or less what He would have you do...