Chauncey C. Riddle
I emphasize again, as I did yesterday, that what I am saying is my idea. I have tried to study and put together the gospel in my mind. In preparing these lectures this year I’ve learned some things I’ve never thought before. So I have to apologize for some things I’ve said in the past. I hope each of you will take what I say with a grain of salt, test it for yourself. But we’re engaged in a wonderful enterprise, that of discerning the mind and will of our God. That I think is the most important thing we need to do, because that is the key to every other good thing. Let’s now turn to the principles of the gospel and talk about them.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news of salvation sent to the natural man. The central principle of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. All other principle are facets or appendages of this faith. That is to say, anything else you can mention is somehow an aspect of faith in Jesus Christ. That is to say, every other good thing. This principle is sometimes called the law of the gospel, singular.
We talk about laws sometimes, but when we speak of laws usually we’re speaking on a terrestrial level. When we’re talking about the pure celestial law it is singular, there’s only one law. That law is to put our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Without living by this principle, it is impossible to please God. Whatsoever is not of this principle, that is to say, whatever act, whatever we do that is not an act of faith in Christ is sin.
This faith is the unique access to righteousness in this world. Jesus Christ is the fountain of all righteousness. We must go to that fountain and drink of the waters of life to have any access to righteousness. So, to have faith in Christ, is first to hear him. Faith comes by hearing of the word. Until we receive a message from him and this means a personal revelation. Now the message may be occasioned by the words of a human being or by the print in a book or by some other occasion but the message itself always comes by spiritual means as revealed through the power of the Holy Ghost.
So, the first thing that we must do, the prerequisite, the thing that makes faith possible is to first hear his voice.
Secondly we must love and believe him. It’s possible to hear and obey without being faithful. The devils do that but they don’t love and believe him. They obey because they know they have to. So the thing that makes the difference between mere obedience and faith is that we love him who gives us this righteousness and we believe him, we believe what he says.
Then thirdly we obey him. Now when this is done with our hearts, that is to say when we our faithful with our hearts we love him. When we love him with our mind, when we are faithful with our mind we believe him. When we our faithful with our body, our strength, then we obey him. When we’re faithful with our might, that is to say all that we own and control, that is consecration. Faith is not whole and perfect until it is a love of God a love of Christ in particular with all of one’s heart, might, mind, and strength. As I see it then, the first great commandment and the law of the gospel are identical. They are the same thing said in different words in different ways. And they tie together beautifully, they map one another.
So we must hear him to know what he wants us to do. We must believe that his instruction is life and righteousness in order to support him fully. We must love him in order to have the motivation, the willpower to overcome selfishness and to make the sacrifices necessary to be faithful. We must obey to bring to pass his will on earth, even as the Father’s will is done in heaven. The opposite of this faith is selfishness which is a synonym for sin. And for one who knows what he is doing selfishness and faithlessness are also insanity. That is to say, a person who is unfaithful knowing the possibilities of faith in Christ really doesn’t have all his marbles.
Now I say that advisedly, recognizing, I suppose I may include you with me when I say I know I have been deliberately unfaithful and I look back and I see in my own life that is insanity. It’s crazy not to be faithful to the Savior. Sometimes we think that making sacrifices are going to hurt us so terribly that we’ll never recover. But we serve a good master and the sacrifices we make merely reap down to greater blessings on our head. We have a hard time sacrificing, because when we sacrifice our blessings are doubled than when we started with, in the long run. The short run, the short run is the test of our faith. And we must be willing to make the sacrifices to show that we love him.