D&C Section 20 (Part 2)

(Continued from previous post: Part 1)

This section was given as the “Articles and Covenants of the Church”, at the time the church was first organized.

The Lord is speaking about the Book of Mormon. He says that it is inspired and has been witnessed by others so that they could stand as witnesses of its truth (v. 10-13). “And those who receive it in faith, and work righteousness, shall receive a crown of eternal life (v. 14); But those who harden their hearts in unbelief, and reject it, it shall turn to their own condemnation (v. 15)—For the Lord God has spoken it; and we, the elders of the church, have heard and bear witness to the words of the glorious Majesty on high, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen (v. 16).” The elders of the Church gave their witness to the truth of the Book of Mormon and the truth of these words.

The Natural or Fallen Man

“By these things we know that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them (v. 17); And that he created man, male and female, after his own image and in his own likeness, created he them (v. 18 ); And gave unto them commandments that they should love and serve him, the only living and true God, and that he should be the only being whom they should worship (v. 19). But by the transgression of these holy laws man became sensual and devilish, and became fallen man (v. 20).”

We are created in God’s image, therefore we inherit his attributes. However, because we are in a fallen state and are mortal, our transgressions cause us to become the natural man. We do not inherit wickedness from God. And we can perfect ourselves through the atonement and repentance for those things we do wrong. In Mosiah 3:19 we read, “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.” Repentance is the key to putting off the natural man that we all become because we all sin.

The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost Are One God

This section is laying out the basic principles of this gospel. “Wherefore, the Almighty God gave his Only Begotten Son, as it is written in those scriptures which have been given of him (v. 21). He suffered temptations but gave no heed unto them (v. 22). He was crucified, died, and rose again the third day (v. 23); And ascended into heaven, to sit down on the right hand of the Father, to reign with almighty power according to the will of the Father (v. 24); That as many as would believe and be baptized in his holy name, and endure in faith to the end, should be saved (v. 25)—Not only those who believed after he came in the meridian of time, in the flesh, but all those from the beginning, even as many as were before he came, who believed in the words of the holy prophets, who spake as they were inspired by the gift of the Holy Ghost, who truly testified of him in all things, should have eternal life (v. 26), As well as those who should come after, who should believe in the gifts and callings of God by the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and of the Son (v. 27);”

“Which Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God, infinite and eternal, without end. Amen (v. 28 ).” We know that there are three separate beings; God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which make up the one Godhead. One God meaning one Godhead. In Alma 11:44 we read, “Now, this restoration shall come to all . . . and even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but every thing shall be restored to its perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body, and shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God, to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil.” This is the only true and Eternal God. There are however, other Gods that exist, that we may be tempted to worship, but they are not the true and living God.

How Does One Receive “Justification”?

“And we know that all men must repent and believe on the name of Jesus Christ, and worship the Father in his name, and endure in faith on his name to the end, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God (v. 29). And we know that justification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true (v. 30);” One basic principle of this gospel, is that God is just. We have commandments and covenants that we must follow and make, which have consequences and rewards (both good and bad). All the laws of the gospel must be fulfilled. However, the Savior has fulfilled all the laws through his atonement, so if we repent and believe in the Savior, we can have His grace. His grace will make us whole and we will receive justification for our transgressions.

What Is “Sanctification”?

“And we know also, that sanctification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true, to all those who love and serve God with all their mights, minds, and strength (v. 31).” Sanctification is purification. It is being rid of all sin and having the change of heart that moves us to be entirely in tune with the will of the Lord. We will never be completely sanctified in this life, but we can take the steps toward sanctification and when the time comes, the Lord will complete the process for us.

What Does Is Mean to “Fall from Grace”?

“But there is a possibility that man may fall from grace and depart from the living God (v. 32);” None of us is free from temptations and sin. Even the most righteous will be tempted and sin from time to time. If we do this without later repenting, we fall from grace. To fall from grace is to choose not to partake in the amazing power of the atonement, but live and possibly die in sin.

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I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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