A quick summation on the Lectures on Faith. Originally it was sustained by all quorums and the entire membership of the church as scripture. In 1921 a committee of men deemed it a conflict with the fundamental beliefs of the church. I think that they are still scripture and that the decision in 1921 was a mistake. The lectures on Faith place eternal salvation upon three key points:
- You must believe in God
- You must understand the correct: attributes, perfections and characteristics of God
- You must know that the path that you are pursuing is in accordance with the will of God
Belief in God is a basic fundamental that all faith is founded upon. Without this, a man can still be a good man, but he will never be able to exercise the kind of faith necessary to obtain salvation. Salvation is what we are concerned about any time we talk about faith. The topic of faith alone, without considering its effects on salvation, has no real value.
Understanding the correct: attributes, perfections, and characteristics of God requires the searching the words of Christ! That is the purpose of the words of Christ, so we can know of these correct traits of God. Those who know the words of Christ will not be deceived when others claim that they are of God, when they are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They can discern the truth based on their knowledge of the correct traits of God. Those who fail to know the words of Christ will be tossed in the storms, by the whims of the traditions of men, and can never obtain the faith necessary unto life and salvation (Joseph’s words, not my own).
Knowing that the course you are pursuing is in accordance with the will of God requires real revelation! It is not a guess or a gut feeling. God will reveal that to you in such a way that you can know! It is only when you know that you never second guess yourself. This knowledge is the kind that will drive through the worst of storms, knowing that the Lord has approved of your path, and it will be His hand in which you know will produce the desired result. He will go ahead and pave the way.
When your faith has been obtained in this way, you can know that the faith you exercise is faith that can produce life unto salvation. You will be assured that the mountains will move, the rivers will turn upstream, the waters will part, and the fruit will appear. This is the situation that the Anti-Nephi-Lehi’s found themselves in, just before their son’s went out to battle. In the midst of the storm, they were assured. That’s what their mothers knew!
Conclusion: I’ll sum up, in order, the three things necessary to develop faith unto salvation, and how it is achieved (according to the Lectures on Faith):
- Believe in God: This is the easy one. It’s like flipping on a light switch. You just do it, and then act like a believer of God, by seeking to know Him.
- Know the correct: attributes, perfections, and characteristics of God: This can only be done by a serious study of the words of Christ, to know the mind and will of God (there’s no other way)! Side note: studying the words of Christ doesn’t necessitate reading only. Reading is the least effective learning method. But as all have not faith, read from the best books. For those who have faith, meet together oft to talk of Christ, preach of Christ, and rejoice in Christ is much more effective. An exchange is far more effective in most cases.
- Know that the path you are pursuing is in accordance with the will of God: There is no other way to know this, but to receive revelation! Do not allow your feelings to lie to yourself here, by reducing your expectation of revelation. You need to know with certainty, or else your faith will not be an enduring faith. It will fail under the pressures that God will place you under, as He proves you.
When you have gone through this process, you will have a faith that can be exercised to produce life unto salvation. Belief is the only pre-requisite to this process. Belief turns into faith, and faith always gives way to knowledge. The knowledge being promised is the knowledge of the heavens. That is the knowledge of God.
You have already begun the journey. Take care of what it is that stops you, repent, build a bridge and get over it, find the faith, trust in God! Be believing! It’s much easier to discover the correct traits of God when we exchange notes together. So… Help me, …help you;)