Acting without knowing is often referred to as “having faith.” However, life eternal is tied to “knowing Christ,” …not acting like you know Christ. Thus, acting must lead to knowing.
Action: Nephi, when he went to retrieve the plates, climbed over the wall, “not knowing before hand” what he was going to do. All would consider Nephi as having great faith, to act upon instructions, without first knowing. This is the argument many have made, to justify their continuous acting, without knowing the words of Christ.
Although Nephi went without knowing before hand what to do, doing so was only a …temporary condition. Nephi needed to know for himself, the interpretation of his father’s dream, and found his ascension, as we ought to, by seeking to know the words of Christ. Salvation doesn’t come to those who act like they know Christ, …rather it is only obtained through “knowing Christ.”
“.3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
Knowing: Acting in faith was only a prelude to knowing. Knowing Christ was always the objective of acting. Like Nephi, …Adam acted, performing sacrifices, not knowing why. But even in Adam’s experience, an angel was necessary to properly instruct him of the purpose of the sacrifices, so that Adam could “know.” Knowing is what produces salvation.
The brother of Jared first acted in faith, without knowing. But knowing was what he sought. Seeing the Lord’s finger was not sufficient, …so in faith he said, “show thyself unto me.” He was brought back into Christ’s presence. His experience can instruct us of how the Lord values knowing:
“13. And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.”
Joseph Smith said that no man can be saved in ignorance. The brother of Jared, in the scripture above, was:
- redeemed from the fall,
- brought back into Christ’s presence,
- and shown Christ,
…because of what he knew! None of the prophets ever discounted acting, but it was knowing that mattered most. All prophets gained greater and greater power to act as they gained more and more knowledge.
Many think that they can simply act, and somehow “fake it until you make it.” The ancient Jews multiplied their acting, without the necessity of knowing. They increased their manuals, multiplied the external temple rituals for all to see, instituted more rules, and tied salvation to obedience to the law, …disconnected from the necessity of knowing the mind and will of God. To them, it was “the law” that saved.Nephi more correctly taught that the law is dead …when it doesn’t point to knowing Christ personally (2 Nephi 25:26-27). God flooded the Jews with a multiplicity of laws, to drown them in their foolish and vain repetitions. So when Christ came to the Jews in the flesh, they claimed salvation by being children unto Abraham. Christ told them, “depart from me, …I never knew you.”
Conclusion: Acting must lead to knowing. We, like the ancient apostate Jews, have set up a multiplicity of checklist items, that justify our actions in our minds, to make us think that salvation is ours, …when it means little or nothing to Christ. We have become so disconnected from the mind and will of God, that our actions have lost its genuineness.
Since I have switched wards, when I see my neighbors, they complain that they miss me and my family. I tell them, “…I haven’t moved!” I have done all in my power to know them, but they rather not know me. Since we are not in their ward, they are not assigned to us as home/visiting teachers, and we don’t great one another at our assigned building and meeting time, it’s as though I moved to another country. We were never really friends. The checklist has become salvation, and we still do not know one another.
We must avoid the mistakes of the past. Let us know the words of Christ, act upon them, and then seek to know more of the words of Christ. We must come to know Him. Let us redefine salvation as knowing Christ. Then our actions will lead to knowing, and knowing will produce our salvation. We will know Christ, to see his face and know that He is (D&C 93:1).