The doctrine of Christ is the only sure way to come unto Him, Brother Douglas D. Holmes, first counselor in the Young Men general presidency, told students at Brigham Young University during a campus devotional held in the Marriott Center on the Provo campus on Jan. 17.
“We live in days where the mists of darkness are ‘exceedingly great,’” he said. “Satan is the father of lies and his lies ‘blindeth the eyes, and hardeneth the hearts of the children of men.’ One of Satan’s subtle but more pervasive strategies is to distract us from things that matter most with a never-ending array of mind-numbing trivialities.”
Focusing his remarks on the “basics of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ,” and the “sublime path of Christian discipleship,” Brother Holmes shared ways an individual can be more diligent, joyful and successful in his or her quest of discipleship.
Important in that quest is the knowledge of a person’s divine identity as a child of God.
“Unfortunately, as with any basic truth that is repeated often, there is a danger that it may become trite,” he said. “In other words, we say it, hear it and sing it so frequently, that we may not give much thought to what it actually means to be a child of God.”
Knowing what it means to be a child of God requires a person to come to know God, and coming to know God “is not for the spiritually lazy,” Brother Holmes taught.
“I invite you to be serious about your study of God, your pursuit to truly know Him,” he said. “He is revealed by His prophets and through the power of the Holy Ghost as we seek Him.”
To understand one’s identity and potential one must understand the Fall of Adam and Eve and its effect upon mankind.
“When we understand we are children of the most High God, but also realize we have made choices that prevent us from returning home, we understand how desperately we need Christ to regain what we have lost,” he taught. “We understand we need another chance, a way to be born again. …
“To our great joy, God has provided a Savior who performed a perfect Atonement and a path for us to return home and receive all that He has. His covenant to us, His children, is that despite our inevitable fall, we can be transformed from beings whose impure hearts, desires and wills cannot abide His presence, into sanctified beings who can abide His glory.”
It is through living the doctrine of Christ that individuals are able to grow in light and truth and become born again. It is through the doctrine of Christ that everyone is able to access the power of Christ’s Atonement in his or her life, and receive the enabling power of grace.
“Rather than view the doctrine of Christ as a few items on a lengthy gospel checklist of things to do I have found it helpful to see the doctrine of Christ as the daily path I want to come unto Christ,” Brother Holmes said.
The doctrine of Christ includes a cycle — faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, obedience, ordinances, receiving the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.
“A critical and powerful element of the doctrine of Christ is that each step is connected to and motivates the next,” he said. “Faith always leads to repentance … because the more we learn of Christ, His character, perfections, and attributes, the more we trust Him and the more willing we are to give up our own agenda for His. We offer a broken heart to receive a new heart. Turning to Christ and following Him more diligently, or obedience, is the essence of repentance.”
Repentance, although necessary, is more than a tearful confession to the bishop regarding a serious transgression. Repentance is more often small and simple things in a person’s life that need to change. Repentance leads to covenants with God through ordinances such as baptism and the sacrament.
“In the sacrament, we are also reminded that becoming like Christ is a step by step process, little by little, week by week, we are transformed.”
Ordinances unlock greater access to the Holy Ghost, he taught, which then imparts the fruits and gifts of the Spirit, and the attributes and powers of God. Enduring to the end is a lifetime pursuit that comes as a person engages in the cycle repeatedly.
Crucial to the doctrine of Christ is the “fuel” to keep the process going.
“In this case the word of God provides the fuel,” he said. “The light of the word ignites our faith and then continues to increase our faith as we feast on and obey it. … Because we need ever increasing faith for this journey, daily feasting on the words of the scriptures, living prophets and the personal whisperings of the Holy Ghost are essential to successfully navigating this path.”
[email protected] @marianne_holman