Saturday, October 26, 2013

To Fulfill All Righteousness

Have you ever been in a math class (algebra, geometry, calculus, oh my!), watching your teacher work out a a particular type of problem on the whiteboard, and been completely mystified as to why he does a certain step? "Subract the five and then add it to the other side of the equal sign," or something like that? Forehead crinkled, tongue between teeth, you do your best to follow your teacher's example, still confused about why you have to subtract the five from one side of the equal sign and add it to the other. But as you get to the last step, and look back up at the whiteboard to make sure you got the right answer, you say to yourself with pleasant surprise, "Wait a second--that worked! I got the right answer by doing what my teacher told me to. Wow, I guess that step was necessary to get the correct answer!"

We can relate this parable, mundane as it is, to the example that the Greatest Teacher set for us. Our Savior Jesus Christ  has worked out all of our problems for us. He not only knows how to solve our problems, but has felt them Himself and has shown us the steps to overcome them. Sometimes we are not sure why we have to do certain things. But as we follow His example in faith, we come to understand the reasons behind the things He asks us to do.

As with all of the best teacher, Christ has done more than just write the process on the board. He went through the process Himself. One of the essential steps that Christ walked us through in the equation leading to eternal life and being with our families forever is baptism by the proper authority of God. This is demonstrated clearly in Matthew 3:13-15 of the New Testament:

   "Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him."

Jesus sought out John the Baptist specifically to be baptized. This is because John had the priesthood authority of God; the priesthood being the power and authority to act in the name of God. John initially protests but Jesus answers that His baptism is necessary to "fulfill all righteousness" -- in essence, to show us what we need to do to return to our Heavenly Father and be with our families. This act is very instructive. Not only do we need to be baptized, but in the proper way (by immersion), and by the proper authority (the priesthood authority of God). Here is a short video that depicts Christ's baptism.

Baptism is the next step in following the path Jesus blazed for us. It is by exhibiting faith and exercising repentance that we come to understand and gain the desire to be baptized. It is through baptism that we are able to open the gate that allows access to the Atoning sacrifice of our Savior.

Even after we are baptized, however, we cannot "cease to labor" (Moroni 9:6, The Book of Mormon). In fact our baptism by water is not even quite complete: "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:5).

Being "born...of the Spirit" is the next step to find our Celestial answer and being with our family forever.

We'll talk about that soon. 

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