“The Safety of the Gospel Law,” Ensign, Nov. 1977, 64
On this occasion I speak with a profound desire that what I say will in some way help us to gain peace in this world and eternal life in the world to come.
All men are brothers in the spirit. The Tower of Babel had no effect on the language of the Spirit. Therefore, if I speak by the Spirit and you listen by the Spirit, the weakness of my spoken word will be transcended, and we will understand together.
I’m not a scientist, but this I have learned since those first totterings and falls as a babe that the law of gravity exists. I have never seen gravity, only its effects. Even so, it is obvious to me that it is in all things, that it is above all things, below all things, round about all things, and that all physical things are held in their positions and controlled in their spheres by this law.
The law of gravity has its limits and conditions. All of the inventions and movements of man take into account these conditions. If a man falls from a high place, he must descend; it matters not his motives. He may have jumped or it might have been an accident; it matters not. For the law of gravity cannot be frustrated, and so he must fall and suffer the destructive consequences.
Men who jump from airplanes have discovered a saving device. It is called the parachute. With proper study and application of this device, man, falling through space, can be saved.
If a man jumps from an airplane without a parachute, he must fall to his destruction. It matters not that he knows the saving power of the parachute. If he does not have one on and open it as he falls, he will not be saved, for the law of gravity cannot be defied. By this we can clearly see that not only is the knowledge of a saving law necessary for salvation but also the application of it in our lives.
Consider what would happen if the law of gravity were suspended from over the face of the earth for twenty seconds. An awesome thought isn’t it, considering that it would cause the total disorganization of all things that exist hereon?
No, I am not a scientist, but I know, like you, that gravity is in all things, above all things, and that it surrounds all things. I have never seen it, but I have seen and felt its effects.
There is another law of which I will speak. It is a greater and more encompassing law than gravity. In fact, the law of gravity is only one among a totality of laws encompassed within it. It is the law of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have never seen this law, but, like gravity, I have seen its effects and felt its powerful influence in my life.
This is the law of the Son of God, even Jesus Christ, “The light and the Redeemer of the World; the Spirit of truth, who came into the world, because the world was made by him, and in him was the life of men and the light of men.
“The worlds were made by him; men were made by him; all things were made by him, and through him, and of him.” (D&C 93:9–10; italics added.)
He would have us know that “that which is governed by law is also preserved by law and perfected and sanctified by the same.” (D&C 88:34.)
But he adds this stem caution, that “that which breaketh a law, and abideth not by law, but seeketh to become a law unto itself, and willeth to abide in sin, and altogether abideth in sin, cannot be sanctified by law, neither by mercy, justice, nor judgment. Therefore, they must remain filthy still.” (D&C 88:35.)
“He comprehendeth all things, and all things are before him, and all things are round about him; and he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things; and all things are by him, and of him, even God, forever and ever.” (D&C 88:41.)
Suppose the law of the gospel of Jesus Christ was suspended from over the face of the earth for twenty seconds. An awesome thought isn’t it, considering that all other laws—even the law of gravity—are encompassed within this all-inclusive law and that it would cause the instantaneous disorganization of all that exists hereon.
But the law of the gospel of Jesus Christ will not be suspended from over the face of the earth, because “the works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught.” (D&C 3:1.) And so that which is governed by law will continue to be preserved by law, and that which will not obey the conditions of law will not be justified in salvation.
Jesus Christ “hath given a law unto all things, by which they move in their times and their seasons.” (D&C 88:42.) And, “Unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions.” (D&C 88:38.)
“All beings who abide not in those conditions are not justified.” (D&C 88:39.)
The law of the gospel of Jesus Christ has decreed that every man must repent and be baptized by immersion, after the pattern of the Lawgiver, or he cannot be saved.
Is a man, therefore, justified if he holds himself outside the conditions of this law?
Parents are required by the law of the gospel to teach their children to understand the doctrine of repentance; to have faith in Christ, the Son of the living God; and pray and walk uprightly before the Lord; and to go into the waters of baptism at the age of accountability.
Wherein, then, is the justification for the parents who abandon this sacred law and, as though it were the accepted thing to do, abdicate their would-be thrones, whereon, had they been faithful and obedient, they might have reigned as gods, with their own children as the princes and princesses of their kingdom?
As a binding clause to the law, the Lord has commanded, “Send forth the elders of my church unto the nations which are afar off; unto the islands of the sea; send forth unto foreign lands; call upon all nations, first upon the Gentiles, and then upon the Jews.” (D&C 133:8.)
Will it, therefore, be justified for any who are these designated elders to put self before the law and shirk the clarion call from the prophet, who is the mouthpiece of God, who would send them out empowered to teach a falling world the saving laws of the gospel of Jesus Christ? And what of those called to prepare them for their hour of departure if they are not faithful in their charge?
Saddest of all, perhaps, are those who will not study the law of the gospel contained in the holy scriptures. They are like the optimist who, having fallen from a high building, said as he passed each window, “So far everything’s all right” or like the man sliding down the roof saying “Help, Lord, I’m falling! Help, Lord, I’m falling! never mind, Lord, I’m caught, caught on a nail.”
We could talk about the law of sacrifice and service to one another, moral cleanliness, tithes and offerings, honesty. Indeed, we could review all the many laws that together comprise the law of the gospel. But perhaps enough has been pointed out to draw focus on their exactness, the protection and salvation they provide us if we obey, and the serious consequences for noncompliance.
Now, my beloved brothers and sisters, does the law of gravity exist? Does it have effect in your life? If you jump from a high place, will your body not fall? Can you defy gravity? Can you step outside of its control?
Does the law of the gospel of Jesus Christ exist? Does it have effect in your life? If you disobey its limits and conditions, will your spirit not fall? Can you defy the law of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Can you step outside its control?
Oh that man could really see
The glories of eternity,
And marvel at the things he saw
Encompassed by eternal law.
That he could somehow comprehend
God’s work from its beginning to its end.
That he is in and over all
And those who heed him not must fall.
For his designs and law profound
Is truth and one eternal round,
And although men may set at naught
The holy laws which he has taught,
And step outside their sacred bounds
To follow after Satan’s sounds;
They must retrace the path they trod
Or n’er again return to God.
The great overriding theme contained in the Book of Mormon, which holds the law of the gospel, is summarized by the ancient prophet Moroni, who delivered it to us in this dispensation. It is: “come unto Christ, and lay hold upon every good gift, and touch not the evil gift, nor the unclean thing. …
“That thou mayest no more be confounded, that the covenants of the Eternal Father which he hath made unto thee … may be fulfilled.
“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.” (Moro. 10:30–33.)
May God bless you in your thoughts and actions, that they may ever be in tune with this holy law, I pray in the name of him who sitteth upon the throne and governeth and executeth all things, even Jesus Christ. Amen.