Near the beginning of the Book of Mormon, the prophet Nephi tells us that his only purpose in writing is to persuade people to “come unto the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and be saved” (1 Nephi 6:4).
Nephi later explains to his brothers that the purpose of the gospel is to help us “come to the knowledge of [our] Redeemer” and to understand His doctrine, so that we “may know how to come unto him and be saved” (1 Nephi 15:14).
Over the next few days, I’m going to explore the concept of coming to the Savior.
- What does it mean to come unto Christ?
- How do we do it?
- What blessings do we receive as we come to Him?
- What obstacles prevent us from doing so?
The phrase “come unto Christ” only appears five times in the scriptures (four times in the Book of Mormon and once in the Doctrine and Covenants), although equivalent phrases, like “come unto me” or “come unto him,” appear more frequently. On two occasions in the Book of Mormon, prophets speak directly to us, urging us to come unto Christ. These two occasions are the end of the small plates of Nephi (a self-contained volume included by Mormon without abridgment) and the end of the Book of Mormon.
Here are the two passages, side by side:
|Amaleki (the last author of the small plates of Nephi)||Moroni (the last author in the Book of Mormon)|
|And now, my beloved brethren,
I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel,
and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption.
Yea, come unto him,
and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him,
and continue in fasting and praying,
and endure to the end;
and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved
|Yea, come unto Christ,
and be perfected in him,
and deny yourselves of all ungodliness;
and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness,
and love God with all your might, mind and strength,
then is his grace sufficient for you,
that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ;
and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power,
then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God,
through the shedding of the blood of Christ,
which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins,
that ye become holy, without spot.
The two passages have a lot in common:
- The first step of the process is to come to Christ. We don’t fix ourselves first, and then come to Him. We come to Him so that He can fix us. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has said, “Come as you are…[but] don’t plan to stay as you are” (“Songs Sung and Unsung,” General Conference, April 2017).
- By choosing to come to Him, we begin to receive His redemptive power. We “partake of his salvation.” We are “perfected in Him.”
- Thereafter, a total commitment is required. We must “offer [our] whole souls as an offering to him” and “deny [ourselves] of all ungodliness.”
- As we continue to follow Him over time, we have the promise that we will be saved: sanctified and made holy by the grace of God.
Today, I will remember both the immediacy and the sustaining power of this process. Christ’s power begins to flow into our lives the moment we turn to Him. And it continues to bless us and to change us as we continue to follow Him. I will be grateful for the redeeming and sanctifying power of the Savior which can heal us and prepare us to return to the presence of our Father in Heaven.