The things of Christ ought to promote hope and faith through a personal relationship with Christ. The chains of hell bind men in ignorance, producing fear. The ability to hearken to the voice of the Lord will progress anyone to be able to sacrifice all things, to seek His presence, and be redeemed.
The things of Christ ought to promote hope and faith through a personal relationship with Christ. The hope that Christ offers comes through His atonement. Alma taught that Christ took upon Himself death, to free men from death. He took upon Himself infirmities, so that He is filled with mercy, to know how to succor (assist in times of hardship/difficulties) us in our infirmities. He suffered the sins of the people, to remove transgressions by the power of His deliverance (Alma 7:11-14). Only Christ has partaken of death, infirmities, and the sins of all. In Gethsemane Christ atoned, asking the Father to “…remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine be done.” And He finished the task successfully. It is He in whom all hope resides, and no man can offer any such hope, …unless he points only to Christ.
The chains of hell bind men in ignorance, producing fear. Alma teaches that it is due to ignorance that men are led, and chained down to hell.
“10 And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.
11. And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; [this is the peak of ignorance] and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.”
Ignorance of God’s mysteries results in being taken captive and destroyed. The ignorant will remain devoted to false traditions, blind leaders, and guides who lie to them about their actual condition of darkness. In their ignorance they will fear a man of God, presenting the truth. The truth is threatening because it exposes their darkness to light.
“24. And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come;
25. And whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning.”
The truth of the churches dealings in the past with the Hawaiians, Native Americans, and Latin Americans have gone hidden from church history. The disobedience of the saints in Nauvoo has been excused and taught as a success in the Salt Lake effort. The frozen pioneers have been depicted as faithful, when their suffering was caused by their procrastination. The use of the tithes are hidden and spent on opulent buildings, businesses, and real estate holdings (often times in waste), while the poor are left to suffer. However, truth remains foundational to God’s plan of repentance and obtaining His mysteries in full. Without the truth it is impossible to repent! In order for Satan to take people captive, all that is required is for people to be content with their ignorance.
The ability to hearken to the voice of the Lord will progress anyone to be able to sacrifice all things, to seek His presence, and be redeemed. Hearken does not mean blind obedience. It’s a compound word that means: to hear and to know, abolishing ignorance with light and knowledge. Light and knowledge brings you to truth, which produces repentance. Ignorance cannot produce truth, and will never translate into repentance. When you are informed of light and truth, and repent, it is because of what you know, that you become willing to sacrifice all 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.”
(Lectures on Faith 6:7)
The plan of salvation is that we become as God is. Those who hear the voice of the Lord, are His sheep, and will be gathered by their receiving the words of Christ. It will provide truth and knowledge sufficient for repentance, and result in the presence of Christ in the flesh.
Conclusion: Hope and faith in Christ is mistaken for just being nice all the time, ignoring what’s broken, and blindly only seeing the remaining good. The remaining good diminishes, until all that’s left is corruption. Christ did not live a life of niceties, especially when facing the false traditions of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Instead, He used boldness. Rather than ignoring what was broken, He addressed it, telling those He healed to “…go and sin no more.” He called men to repentance, rather than turning a blind eye to the reality of darkness. 2 Nephi 28 addresses this false syndrome of niceties as being at ease in Zion, saying, “…All is well.”
Hope and Faith in Christ is not passive, but is actively engaged in truth and knowledge, repentance, hearing His voice, and acting in obedience to Christ (no matter what sacrifice is required of you). This process will increase knowledge, until you know all the mysteries of God in full. Thus, you will have broken the chains of hell, because ignorance will be destroyed in you, making you filled with light. You will become a chosen vessel. That is the hope and faith that Christ offers in His atonement.
Christ has overcome death, to free you from death. He took upon Himself your infirmities, so that He is filled with mercy, to know how to succor you in your infirmities. He suffered your sins, to remove your transgressions by the power of His deliverance. If you are to come to Him, it will require exercise. Don’t leave this work undone.