As I have written, through the first law of justice we are cleansed and through the higher law of mercy we are justified. This then leaves us with questions concerning that which is Celestial. What more can we sacrifice than our independence? What law could exist above mercy? What could be greater than perfection?
First to understand why perfection isn't the end, we need to know what perfection is. Every word in the Hebrew Old Testament for perfect are also the same words which mean finished, complete or whole. His definition of perfection is different from our westernized perception of it, and is not a state where one is all powerful or all knowing. Rather it is a state of complete lack of weakness or flaws within its sphere and element.
When we describe a perfect diamond, it doesn't mean that the diamond has all possible properties of beauty, rather it is used to describe the crystal itself, that is has no blemishes and its crystal matrix is without flaw. Similarly and quite obviously, the perfect man is not the same as the perfect woman. They still need each other to fulfill the measure of their creation. So too, is the perfect man meaningless without God.
Thus when we are perfected we become whole and complete in and of ourselves without any weakness or lack as to our own nature. However this does not mean that we have “received of his fulness”, as we still need His Kingdoms and His light to sustain us. We can see from this that perfection is merely a preparatory state, a state we need to reach before we are able to return to Him.
So if our being perfect is insufficient, then what is? If the first law separates the clean from the unclean, and the higher law divides the just from the unjust, then what is the Highest law, and how does it differentiate between the Terrestrial and the Celestial?
Interestingly there is not much which is detailed when it comes to the Terrestrial Kingdom and its laws. The differences between the two kingdoms are rarely spelled out in the scriptures. Yes there are some indications in what the Kingdoms stand for such as whether they were “valiant in the testimony of Jesus”, but even that isn't strictly defined.
God however does have a strict definition as to what that means, and what we need to do to inherit Eternal Life. There is no subjective judgment; it is clear cut and without exception. Thus we need to find out that law as He defines it.
We can find at least a preliminary definition in D&C 88 where we read “they who are not sanctified through the law which I have given unto you, even the law of Christ, must inherit another kingdom, even that of a terrestrial kingdom, or that of a telestial kingdom.”
The law of Christ is the law which separates us, wherein it separates the sanctified from the unsanctified, or in other words the holy from the unholy. This holiness and sanctification is the necessary condition which we need to fulfill in order to finally inherit Eternal Life.
Some have mistakenly believe that this Law of Christ is doing what Jesus did in a literal sense, wherein we atone the for the sins of another world. However as I have written before, this literal way of interpretation of His word is a very Gentile and wrong way to understand His will. It is in this way that the philosophies of man are mingled with scripture.
Besides being mathematically unfeasible, this belief belittles what Christ did for us, and undoes the foundations of salvation. It raises us up in our pride and arrogance, supposing that we could possibly do what Jesus did, for we are not the Father's first born nor His Only Begotten, which name becomes meaningless if we believe in this doctrine. How can we die and live again, if we have already received incorruption, or do ye suppose that there is some form of trans-migration, which doctrine Joseph Smith denounced as the doctrine of the devil?
No, obviously the Law of Christ is not to do what He did in a literal sense, but rather to follow Him in a more abstract manner, or in other words to follow the example and principles that He laid down for us.
So what exactly are these principles? What exactly is this law of Christ? To answer this let us take a brief look at sacrificial animals in the Law of Moses, as well as the general law of the people prior to the coming of Christ.
First of all these animals needed to be ritually clean, strong and healthy specimens, and physically unblemished. All sacrifices were then salted or purified, before finally offered upon the altar. Only then were they “korban” or sanctified as a sacrifice unto the Lord. The animal that was sacrificed was considered holy and sacred and belonged to Him.
We can see from this that anything that we sacrifice unto Him must abide by those conditions. We don't sacrifice that which is unclean or worthless to Him, we sacrifice that which is of great worth to Him. Thus cleanliness and perfection are mere prerequisites to something greater. The first sacrifice of our agency, and the higher sacrifice of our independence are the preparatory sacrifices which lead to the ultimate sacrifice, the sacrifice of self or will.
This is the final example of that which is written “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” This is the ultimate and utter surrender, and thus the greatest humiliation, wherein we sacrifice the only thing that is left: ourselves.
This is exactly what He did for us. He was the final sacrifice for all the world, wherein “the will of the Son [was] swallowed up in the will of the Father.” This is the final example that Jesus showed us, on what to do to follow Him. For has He not said “wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.”
Neal A Maxwell explained “The submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar. The many other things we “give,” brothers and sisters, are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us. However, when you and I finally submit ourselves, by letting our individual wills be swallowed up in God’s will, then we are really giving something to Him! It is the only possession which is truly ours to give!”
So it is that our wills must in like manner be swallowed up in God's will. In Helaman 3 it reads “Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.”
The word heart in Hebrew is “leb” which can also be translated as the inner man, or will. It is the core of our souls that we must sacrifice unto Him, and only then can we say “That [our] garments have been cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ, who will come to redeem his people from their sins”.
Moroni expounds upon this saying “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.”
This is the ordinance that we need to enter into, which is our being re-inherited as children of the Father, receiving that patriarchal priesthood which is necessary for us to become joint heirs with Christ through the Blood of his perfect atonement, for “by the blood ye are sanctified”. It is through this that we are endowed with power from on High to pass through the impenetrable veil which protects us from the Kingdom of everlasting burnings.
If we submit to Him, we lose our unholy wills, wherein we receive a Holy will. This is how “[we] shall overcome all things”. Can any man in and of himself overcome all? Of course not. He empowers us with the ability to do so, in and through our sacrifice of our wills to Him.
Again the irony rears its ugly head, for they that are unwilling to sacrifice their will, are they whose wills becomes meaningless. For how can God expect us to become Eternal Fathers, if our wills are not like His, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent?
Thus it is that they who cannot take that last step are they that are condemning themselves to be forever unholy, their wills becoming dead ends. They die the “eternal deaths”, in that they cut off the possibility of posterity from themselves, for this is their covenantal curse, a curse of damnation, without the possibility of increase in glory or meaning, worlds without end.
Likewise they that follow Christ's example are inheritors of the patriarchal order, the covenental blessing of “eternal lives”, wherein they become a light upon high, becoming a source of creation, raining down eternal life upon an innumerable host of like children.
How glorious and wonderful the blessings He has in store for us! We cannot comprehend what He has in store for us, for so great are they “that they cannot be written, neither can they be uttered by man.”
As Neal A Maxwell so eloquently stated “In striving for ultimate submission, our wills constitute all we really have to give God anyway. The usual gifts and their derivatives we give to Him could be stamped justifiably “Return to Sender,” with a capital S. Even when God receives this one gift in return, the fully faithful will receive “all that [He] hath” (D&C 84:38). What an exchange rate!”
Then if that is the case what have we to lose? If we have already sacrificed our agency and independence, why not go just a little further, and sacrifice the little that remains, and gain the whole world in exchange.
Let us follow the words of Moroni who counseled “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure.”
Let us be those true followers, where we do as He did, submit as He did, and love as He loves. If we do these things, I can promise that we will finally inherit all as He has and be filled with that joy the eternal joy that only comes to those that are like Him, which is beyond measure. Amen.