“God’s Way to Eternal Life,” Ensign, Jan. 1974, 116
The Lord’s thoughts and ways are higher than the thoughts and ways that come from men.
The Lord said to man: “… my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, … for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa. 55:8–9.)
God’s way was to create man, male and female, in his own image and likeness.
Man’s way is that man came from a lower form of life. God’s way justifies self-respect.
God’s way provides man a divine way of life. The Lord promised his children salvation in the kingdom of God if they would live and follow his ways. It is important to know that man can become godlike through the thoughts and ways of the Lord.
The Lord’s way was to send a savior who would live and teach the ways of a living God. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16–17.)
Jesus Christ said, “… I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” (John 6:38.)
“And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life. …” (John 6:40.)
“… the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” (John 5:19.)
“… all men should honour the Son,” he said, “even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. … He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:23–24.)
God has provided one way and only one way for his mortal children to attain godlike perfection. Jesus Christ proclaimed, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: No man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6.)
Jesus Christ brought to this earth from heaven the Lord’s ways and the Lord’s truths.
Jesus Christ lived and exemplified the heavenly life, that the Father desires all of his children to live.
“… I am come,” Jesus said, “that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10.)
The full, abundant, divine way of life can be gained by following and walking in the light of Jesus Christ.
“… I am the light of the world”; Jesus said, “he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12.)
“That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.” (D&C 50:24.)
By following the Son of God and by living worthy to receive the light of life we can take on the radiance of godliness. Not only can we be children of God, in his image and likeness, but we can be sons and daughters of God in this life and in the kingdom of heaven.
We have this promise from the Savior: “Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the life and light of the world. … verily, I say unto you, that as many as receive me, to them will I give power to become the sons of God. …” (D&C 11:28, 30.)
God’s greatest gift to his children is for them to be saved in the kingdom of God. The Lord said, “If thou wilt do good, yea, and hold out faithful to the end, thou shalt be saved in the kingdom of God, … for there is no gift greater than the gift of salvation.” (D&C 6:13.) This is the gift of all gifts; this is the diploma of all diplomas. This is the degree in salvation that qualifies one for eternal life in the kingdom of God.
Jesus taught that few would find the way to salvation. He commanded his disciples to follow the Lord’s way.
He said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matt. 7:13–14.)
Yes, our Heavenly Father so loved us that he sent his only begotten Son down from heaven to this earth that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life, but few find the divine way. Only a few will follow Jesus Christ. Only a few will love God first. Only a few will keep God’s commandments. Because they love the lower thoughts and ways of men more than they love the higher thoughts and ways of God. “And this is the condemnation,” Jesus said, “that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19.)
And again we read from the scriptures:
“For you shall live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.
“For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
“And the Spirit giveth light to every man that cometh into the world: and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit.
“And every one that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit cometh unto God, even the Father.” (D&C 84:44–47.)
The voice of the Lord continues, “And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things.” (D&C 88:67.) What a glorious promise!
The light of the Savior is available to everyone who will follow him. This divine light, through repentance, will remove darkness and sin from the soul.
Jesus showed the light of brightness of his divinity to three of his apostles:
“… Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John … and bringeth them up into an high mountain …
“And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
“While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” (Matt. 17:1–2, 5.)
Our Heavenly Father has commanded, “hear ye him.”
Jesus Christ was truly a God, living in a mortal body, with divine power; he was sent from heaven, to show mankind God’s way to celestial perfection.
The Lord’s ways and his thoughts are found in his scriptures.
In a parable, Jesus taught his disciples how they could partake of his life, his light and his power.
He said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
“Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
“Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
“If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
“As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
“… even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (John 15:1–11.)
Jesus Christ is the vine and all who sincerely want to become godlike, prepared to live with their Heavenly Father in his kingdom, must receive their strength and power from the Savior. No man cometh unto the Father but by and through Jesus Christ.
The nonproducing branches on the vine, some lost in the darkness and sin of the world, some weak and sick from the blight of evil, some branches fluttering in the winds of worldly pleasure and disrespect for the power to produce godlike fruit through the divine vine, having disrespect for Jesus Christ and for the Father and for their commandments, will be pruned from the vine. They will be cut away from their source of divine nourishment and their chance to become godlike. Pruned away from their divine opportunity, as a child of God, to partake of the light and divine way of life, their chance to live with God was foolishly dissipated away. They failed to feed on the living bread of life.
All of God’s children are branches on the vine; all have the opportunity to partake of the life, example, and commandments of Jesus Christ and to become like him.
The Lord also commanded man to build godlike perfection into his life. He said, “… I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” (3 Ne. 12:48.)
Divine perfection can only come through and by Jesus Christ, by knowing and following his ways, his truths, and his life. To be perfect we should be charitable, loving, honest, virtuous, upright, clean, and possess every godlike attribute. To become perfect, a child of God should live like a child of God. We can attain perfection by knowing and loving God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our mind; and by loving our neighbors as ourselves. This leaves no love for the devil or for the darkness of the world.
Perfection comes by seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Perfection comes by praying to a living God through a living Jesus Christ. Perfection comes by knowing and keeping all of God’s ways and commandments.
The Apostle Paul, as he counseled the saints to completely and fully accept the Lord, said:
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph. 6:10–12.)
Yes, we wrestle against the thoughts and ways of men that are contrary to the thoughts and ways of God.
The whole armor of God will keep the divine light of Jesus Christ inside and the darkness of evil outside. All who wear the full armor of God will be filled with pure love, happiness, peace, and godlike self-respect.
It is a blessing to have a living prophet and living apostles of the Lord to help us to know the higher thoughts and ways of the Lord and to encourage us to put on the whole armor of God and to be perfect even as our Father in heaven is perfect.
May we radiate from our countenance the light of life and walk as Jesus walked.
In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.