The first law of heaven is perfect obedience, wherein we sacrifice our agency to choose evil and filthiness. If this is the case what could we possibly sacrifice more than our agency? What greater or higher law could possibly exist than to eliminate all evil?
To understand this this we need to look at what the first law implies. Firstly this law is not just the law of obedience but also the law of Justice, Judgment and Truth. It condemns the wicked and protects the innocent. The law that separates the filthy from the clean in and of itself doesn't have the power to cleanse; for “the strength of sin” is this absolute, unbending, and remorseless law.
Because of this “no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off.” We are all sinners and have the need to be saved; and yet with only the first law in place, “there [is] no means to reclaim men from this fallen state, which man [has] brought upon himself because of his own disobedience”.
This first law was taught to men by means of the Law of Moses. It was not only a law of performances and ordinances, but it strictly defined the differences between the clean and unclean, the holy and the mundane. It taught the children of Israel the how awful filthiness was, by showing direct consequences to them. However we know “that salvation doth not come by the law alone”.
Obviously this first law is insufficient, as it only serves to act as an insurmountable barrier to those that desire to enter Heaven. “Thus all mankind were lost; and behold, they would have been endlessly lost were it not that God redeemed his people from their lost and fallen state”. This is where a higher law of heaven comes into play, aka the law of the gospel or the law of mercy.
The details as to what the gospel is and how the atonement works were spelled out in a previous post, and so I won't cover that here. However I will say that it is not something we have earned or deserve; it is a glorious gift that He gives to us in his bounteous love and mercy; that is the key. We don't have to earn it, for we cannot.
So how do we accept this higher law of mercy? If we cannot earn or pay for it, then what do we sacrifice, and why do we do so? Obviously if this higher law of mercy were simply given without restriction, there would be no difference between the Kingdoms, for why would any reject mercy, if there is no price to pay? Would one willingly suffer hell, if there were no need to do so? Of course not.
This then raises the question, how does this law of mercy and good news separate the Telestial and Terrestrial? We know that the first law differentiates between the clean and the unclean, so by what mechanism can we provide a deeper look into our soul? The answer quite simply is that the difference boils down to a question of innocence.
The higher law divides us into the just and the unjust which identifies us by the method of our cleansing; either on the one hand by our paying for our sins via the law of justice, or on the other hand by our relying upon Christ, where He pays in our stead via the higher law of mercy absolving us of our sins, by which we “[become] again, in [our] infant state, innocent before God”.
This justification is not given without restriction, rather it is only given to those that fulfill the conditions by which mercy may operate. One cannot take advantage of His mercy, for it comes only upon those that are willing to give up that pride and arrogance that distinguishes their identity and individuality, for we must “not put [our] trust in the arm of flesh”.
What He requires is that we take upon us His name, by which we become His children. In order to do so we must acknowledge our weakness, imperfection, incompleteness, incompetence, unworthiness, and foolishness before Him, and beg of Him that He will save us, bowing our heads down to the earth in utter humility; for “whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted”
And again it says “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
This is the innocence and humility required of us to accept this higher law. We need to admit that we can't do it alone, and we need Him from the depth of our souls, not just want Him in a superficial manner. Without his life giving light we are doomed to wander in the darkness forever without a glimmer of hope. It is that desire for light that must drive us so that we can come unto Him.
“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;”
By throwing away even our independence and individuality, our pride and arrogance, He is finally able to give us a true individuality, independent, glorious, whole and perfect. Remember that for every sacrifice that is demanded, a greater gift is given beyond our wildest imaginations. This great gift of justification and perfection is the covenantal blessing that can only be given to the meek.
In this our broken and ungodly state, we cannot know what the word perfect even means, for in this filthy world we are separated from Him so exceedingly so as to not be able to even comprehend what it means to be clean, let alone perfect. And while we cannot know what it is, we can catch even the smallest glimpse of cleanliness and perfection in the truths and light that He shines downs upon us.
It is only those that are “meek and lowly of heart” that are raised up beyond the highest ambitions of man. This reliance upon Him is the faith that is necessary for us, which faith is the first step in following the law of the gospel. It is this trust in Him that allows us to relinquish our desires for the things of this world to buoy us. Our value is not dependent upon man and the glory of this world, but we can only know that if we believe Him.
We all know that the first principles and ordinances of the fullness of the gospel are faith, repentance, baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. As I wrote before about the relationship between repentance and baptism to the preparatory gospel and its place in the First law, we now need to focus on the remaining principles, which are Faith and the gift of the Holy Ghost.
I will cover Faith more extensively in another post, but it sufficeth me to say that the faith that is necessary is the relationship that we have with Him, our trust, loyalty, and belief in Him. This is what leads us to satisfy the conditions necessary to complete and fulfill the promise that we make when we receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
The Law of the gospel, or in other words the Law of mercy and good news is officiated to us through the ordinance of the baptism of fire; for “by the Spirit ye are justified”. So what exactly does this fire represent?
We read in Malachi “for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.”
This fire burns away any impurities, and thus leaves only the precious metal behind, pure, clean, whole, and perfect. It is the divine fire of God, for He dwells in the “everlasting burnings.” Those that enter any of His kingdoms must be burned, either by Divine fire, or by the fire and brimstone of hell. This is why it says “then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.”
Again Amulek taught “I desire that ye … contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.”
Only through this humbling of ourselves “even to the dust” can we find ourselves; for the Lord has stated “And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost.”
Herein lies the difference between the ordinance of the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the reception of it where we are finally baptized by fire. When we have the gift given to us, it commands us to receive the Holy Ghost, it is something we must seek to accomplish.
Simply sitting around and waiting, remaining ever dependent upon the world and Babylon will not make it happen. We are commanded to actively partake of it, bowing our heads, begging before Him that we may be baptized in the purifying fire that He promises to all those that have followed Him “with full purpose of heart”.
This utter abasement is the great hurdle that those that have given themselves to the natural man cannot overcome. “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.”
So it is that the natural man are those that refuse to bow to Him, and are ultimately humbled through death, forever being marked as sinners, never coming close to perfection, being enslaved to their weakness and incompetence forever, which is their eternal covenantal curse.
Thus it is that the same irony that was present for the Perditious, manifests itself yet again upon the unjust, the Telestial. They who desire independence above all, are the very ones that are forever dependent upon others due to their own incompetence and imperfection. They are reliant upon the Higher kingdoms, never becoming kings and leaders themselves, being subjects for all eternity.
Just as the Lord cannot tolerate sin, so too can He not allow for arrogance. It is a common theme throughout the scriptures that they who lift themselves up shall be forced down. This pride, or in other words this trusting in the arm of flesh is the source of wickedness, the fountain of death. Of course the Lord will dam up that stream of destruction, to protect his children.
On the other hand, it is those that are humble that He consistently exalts. Then let us too worship Him and serve him with all our might, that we too may be lifted up at the last day. Only by bowing our head to Him can we truly hold our heads high, having a perfect brightness of hope, being absolute in our confidence in ourselves, thanks to Him.
Let us all show obeisance and worship Him, as did David who wrote in Psalms “Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!”
How can I say it better than Alma who said “Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you. Yea, he saith: Come unto me and ye shall partake of the fruit of the tree of life; yea, ye shall eat and drink of the bread and the waters of life freely;”
Who can say that they in and of themselves are perfect? I say no one can. Then if that is the case, how can we say that our pride in the pathetic works of our hands is so important as to reject Him. Is not his magnificent mercy and grace greater than anything we can accomplish? Is this not worth giving up our nothingness and foolishness for His majesty and greatness?
He in his infinite love for us has provided this world where we can finally learn our place, and to learn to become independent, in and through our dependance upon Him. For He has said “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”
I testify that He is there waiting for us with arms outstretched, to humble ourselves that He may pull us up and uplift us to Him. I know that there is no greater gift than His love, and that if we desire after it He will glorify and perfect us in Him. Amen.