13 Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.
14 And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—
15 And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.
16 And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.
(3 Nephi 27:13-16)
Faithfulness over time enables us to receive the saving power of Jesus Christ.
In the passage above, the Savior reviews the core doctrines of His gospel with the twelve disciples whom He has called to teach His people. First He reminded them of the terrible suffering He endured on our behalf in order to be obedient to His Father. He affirmed that He allowed Himself to be “lifted up” on the cross so that we could be “lifted up” and return to the presence of the Father. Then, he described what we must do to receive the blessings He offers to us:
- Repent and be baptized, so that we can be filled with the Holy Ghost. (See 3 Nephi 12:6.)
- Endure to the end, so that we will be found guiltless when we are judged.
Repentance and baptism get us onto the path, but the full saving power of the Savior becomes available to us only after we endure to the end.
When Jesus called His apostles, He warned them that they would experience persecution. If He was mistreated, surely they would be too, because “the disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord” (Matthew 10:24). But He urged them not to give up under pressure, not to abandon their work halfway through: “Ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake,” He said, “but he that endureth to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 10:22). Near the end of His life, as He described the turmoil and the destruction which would precede His second coming, He reaffirmed the same principle: “He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13).
President Russell M. Nelson once listed a few examples to help us understand this principle:
The winner of a five-kilometer race is declared at the end of five kilometers, not at one or two. If you board a bus to Boston, you don’t get off at Burlington. If you want to gain an education, you don’t drop out along the way—just as you don’t pay to dine at an elegant restaurant only to walk away after sampling the salad.
Whatever your work may be, endure at the beginning, endure through opposing forces along the way, and endure to the end. Any job must be completed before you can enjoy the result for which you are working (“Endure and Be Lifted Up,” General Conference, April 1997).
Today, I will remember the importance of enduring to the end, of not giving up when things get difficult. I will remember that the full blessings of an activity are often available only when the job is done. In particular, I will recommit to endure to the end in my discipleship. Because of the Savior’s sacrifice on our behalf, because He suffered willingly until He had paid the full price and was able to say, “It is finished” (John 19:30), we can be cleansed. Our sins can be washed away, and we can be purified if we remain faithful over time through the challenges and the difficulties of life.