all things
Week 42 is scheduled for study Oct. 9-15, 2023. Only the gospel of Christ can follow through on the promise to teach us how to handle all things that come our way in life.

Day 1

When was the last time you read the Spiritual impressions you have recorded during your study of the New Testament? It might be helpful to review the promptings you have been receiving.

Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:12-23 – My faith is founded on Jesus Christ.

For me, this lesson begs the question as to why I should put my faith in Jesus Christ in the first place. I wrote the commentary for this day’s lesson only to realize it was big enough for a separate article. You can read the entire day’s lesson here – Why Put Your Faith in Jesus Christ.

Day 2

When was the last time you read the Spiritual impressions you have recorded during your study of the New Testament? It might be helpful to review the promptings you have been receiving.

Philippians 2:12-13 – Do we “work out [our] own salvation”?

Today’s topic caused me confusion for many years. I wanted to do all in my power to change and become better. It bothered me to have to rely on someone else changing me for me to be good enough to be acceptable to God. I actually resented the notion that I needed Christ or I couldn’t return to God.

For someone to say that we can work out our own salvation is mistaken, because no matter how hard we try, there are changes that have to be made within our soul that we do not have the capacity to affect on our own. Someone else has to do it for us. This is why we need a Christ, a Messiah. It is through our covenants with him that we have been given the gift of the Holy Ghost. It is the Holy Ghost who makes those changes in our heart, little by little, leading us closer and closer to being a Christlike person.

Our religion is based on the belief in vicarious works. Jesus did for us what we could not do for ourselves. And when we do family history work and Temple work we do for others what they cannot do for themselves, for they have already left this phase of mortality, and therefore can no longer perform the covenantal work necessary for their own salvation. The desire may be there, but they are not physically able to make the covenants that require a mortal body to agree to. This is why we go to the Temples and do it for them, just as Jesus did for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Those who believe only in Ephesians 2:8 that “by grace are ye saved through faith” are confused. They are mixing up faith with belief, and they are not the same thing. Belief is a choice, and nothing more. Faith isn’t created until we decide to live by the belief we have adopted or chosen. It is called faith, because without any physical evidence of its truthfulness, we still choose to live and abide by the choices we make to live Christ’s teachings. So many times what Christ requires of us is counter intuitive, going against all reason. Yet when we do as he commands our lives are richly blessed and the Spirit confirms to us that we have chosen well.

The point here is that faith requires action. This means that there cannot be any such thing as being saved by just a belief in Christ. There must be a life filled with living the beliefs we espouse. Only then can his grace save us, for we will have done all in our power to follow his teachings. As powerful as Jesus is, even he cannot save someone who only gives lip service to his teachings.

The scriptures are replete with references that state clearly that the final judgment is one of restitution. We will be given back that which we have given. If we have demonstrated goodness and love all our days, we will be shown goodness and love in the day of judgment. If we have forgiven others, forgiveness will be shown us. God cannot restore someone to a state that is foreign to him/her. This principle is amply taught throughout the Book of Mormon.

Day 3

When was the last time you read the Spiritual impressions you have recorded during your study of the New Testament? It might be helpful to review the promptings you have been receiving.

Philippians 3:4-14 – The gospel of Jesus Christ is worth every sacrifice.

Is the gospel of Jesus Christ really worth every sacrifice? I believe that if you start realistically listing the pros and cons that come from accepting and living Christ’s gospel you will find that no amount of cons can outweigh the pros on that list. Here are just a few pros.

Who or what can offer me more than what I am offered by Jesus? Anything based in this life can only offer something that ends with my death, so no worldly philosophy can replace the promises of eternal glory and exaltation offered by the Christ. Eternal life promises a happy marriage, posterity that extends into the eternities, godhood, kingdoms, thrones, principalities, and powers. No one but Christ promises such blessings in mortality, let alone for all of eternity.

What philosophy can offer me an inner peace that surpasses what the Holy Ghost can offer me? Christ is known as the Prince of Peace. His peace surpasses the ability of any mortal to even conceive of such peace. Yet the Holy Spirit gives it to all who are obedient to Christ’s gospel. This is a peace that makes us able to be quiet in our soul even during the most chaotic and trying circumstances. This peace also creates peace between people who would otherwise be at odds with one another, so it heals societies.

What other religion or philosophy enables us to offer salvation to our ancestors? None of them do. Only Christ can make this offer. Only he can bind whole generations together and permit us to participate in the salvation of others by performing sacred priesthood ordinances in the Temple.

There are those who feel that they have discovered that this prophet or that prophet wasn’t perfect, or that someone in the church at one time or another did a very human thing, instead of what they consider to be a more appropriate and Christlike thing. As a result of this discovery they withdraw their faith in the teachings of the prophets and from Christ’s priesthood power. They would rather live without the eternal blessings offered by Christ than to be associated with someone less perfect than themselves. I suppose there is no accounting for taste. Such is the use of agency among God’s children. Agency and reason are not necessarily connected.

Day 4

When was the last time you read the Spiritual impressions you have recorded during your study of the New Testament? It might be helpful to review the promptings you have been receiving.

Philippians 4:1-13 – I can find joy in Christ, regardless of my circumstances.

There is an almost universal human tendency to assume that the choices other people make are either our doing or our fault. Either way, we are wrong. When we begin to take either credit for someone else’s choice, or blame for another’s choice, we have forgotten ourselves. We have, because we are not the judge of that person – we are not responsible for the choices they make. We cannot either bless them or punish them for the choices they make in life. If I may, I would like to follow up with a couple of examples.

In the Book of Mormon Alma the Younger goes to the city of Ammonihah to preach repentance to them and is roundly rejected. In Alma 8:14-15 we see how Alma handled this rejection. He has just been thrown out of Ammonihah and has decided to go to the next city.

14 And it came to pass that while he was journeying thither, being weighed down with sorrow, wading through much tribulation and anguish of soul, because of the wickedness of the people who were in the city of Ammonihah, it came to pass while Alma was thus weighed down with sorrow, behold an angel of the Lord appeared unto him, saying:

15 Blessed art thou, Alma; therefore, lift up thy head and rejoice, for thou hast great cause to rejoice; for thou hast been faithful in keeping the commandments of God from the time which thou receivedst thy first message from him. Behold, I am he that delivered it unto you.

The big lesson, among the several lessons available in these verses, is that Alma was focusing on the behavior and decisions of others, and was not giving proper credit to his own behavior. The angel said, in essence, ‘Stop looking at their behavior and look at your own. You have been obedient to the commandments you have been given and have great cause to rejoice. Why? Because you will be blessed with the riches of heaven for your obedience.’ The angel doesn’t tell Alma to continue to weep or hold himself responsible for the people’s choices. Instead, he should focus on his own relationship with God and find joy in his own obedience.

The angel didn’t tell Alma to be calloused about the people’s rejection of the word of God. But he did remind Alma that his own personal obedience should be a reason and cause for rejoicing, for great blessings were going to come from such behavior.

This same kind of scenario played out with Joseph Smith when he was spending time in Liberty Jail. He had suffered a lot physically, mentally, and spiritually. The Saints were scattered, driven out, without proper leadership in many cases, and here he was, stuck in jail unable to help. Joseph felt royally sorry for himself and his people. In Doctrine and Covenants 121:7-11 the Lord begins to open Joseph’s mind to the reality that the suffering he thought he was going through was not what he thought it was. This message of hope for Joseph, because of his own obedience to God is used as a lesson for us all when we begin to get caught up in our daily trials. This passages teaches us to learn to look at Christ and to look to our own obedience if we want the peace that comes from Christ.

My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;

And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.

Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands.

10 Thou art not yet as Job; thy friends do not contend against thee, neither charge thee with transgression, as they did Job.

11 And they who do charge thee with transgression, their hope shall be blasted, and their prospects shall melt away as the hoar frost melteth before the burning rays of the rising sun;

The point of today’s lesson is that Christ can offer us peace and joy no matter what circumstances we find ourselves experiencing. But we need to remember that his peace can only come to those who are consistently obedient. Righteous behavior brings the rewards the scriptures describe. It was so with Alma, Joseph Smith, Jr., and with each and every one of us. This is another of God’s universal patterns we can take to heart and depend upon.

Day 5

When was the last time you read the Spiritual impressions you have recorded during your study of the New Testament? It might be helpful to review the promptings you have been receiving.

Colossians 3:1-17 – Disciples of Jesus Christ become “new” as they live His gospel.

Here is the gist of what Paul is saying in these verses. There are two kinds of people. The first one is the earthly person. Qualities of the earthly person include such things as these mentioned in verses 5-6.

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:

Paul is describing the natural man – those who do not know God and live by the desires of the flesh alone. Paul also includes these descriptors of the natural man in verses 8-9.

But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, maliceblasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

The whole point of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost is to change us from the natural man to a person who becomes new through their obedience to Christ. Paul would say simply that they are new in Christ. Same thing. The whole point of the gospel Christ teaches is that it has the capacity to change us from what people naturally are in mortality into people who are fit to live with God. The gospel changes us. That is the whole point, to change into better people, new people.

The rest of the verses in today’s lesson describe the kind of person Christ desires us to become. Note in the first verse listed here that once we become more Christlike we become alike to one another. We are no longer separated by nationality or any other separator, but all are alike to us. He is saying that the image of this new man we are becoming is after the image of Christ who created us.

10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

Note that none of the virtues listed below are included in the list of the desires of the flesh listed above. This is what makes the Saint different from those who do not follow Christ.

12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercieskindnesshumbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdomteaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

The difference between the natural man of the flesh and the follower of Jesus who seeks to become “new” is stark. The purpose of the gospel of Christ is to show us how to make this change and become new and better people than what we can do on our own.

FHE/Personal Study

Improving Our Teaching

Live your testimony

No one believes a lesson on humility taught by a known braggart.

“Remember that all blessings come only as you are obedient to the laws and commandments which bring them. Your life must reflect your knowledge, you must live what you know if you are to receive blessing from your Heavenly Father.” (a quote from a private source)

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NT42-2023 – All Things Through Christ