THE HIGHWAY TO ETERNAL LIFE IS MARKED BY…
FAITH, HOPE, AND CHARITY
The Instructor, October 1965
by Chauncey C. Riddle
As the Prophet Moroni was completing his message to the people of the latter days, he found it expedient in the Lord to include in his record some of the choice teachings of his father, Mormon. One of these specially preserved sermons is concerned with faith, hope, and charity, the three great virtues of the sons and daughters of God.
The foundation of all righteousness, Mormon emphasizes, is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord blesses men with knowledge of His will; this makes faith possible.
“And behold, there were divers ways that he [God] did manifest things unto the children of men, which were good; and all things which are good cometh of Christ.”… (Moroni 7:24.)
Men who delight in righteousness believe God when they receive instruction from Him. Belief in the words of Christ enables them to act in faith, to carry out the instructions of God. As men obey God, the fruits of righteousness abound in their lives.
“Wherefore, by the ministering of angels, and by every word which proceeded forth out of the mouth of God, men began to exercise faith in Christ; and thus by faith, they did lay hold upon every good thing.” … (Moroni 7:25.)
One of the blessings consequent to faith in Christ is to be able to have hope, Mormon tells us. If we have kept the commandments of God, we then become heirs to the promises, and we an rightfully anticipate blessings from God:
“And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.” (Moroni 7:41.)
Those who see with the eye of faith look forward in hope to the overcoming of all of their personal problems. Putting their trust in the Savior, they strive to obey Him in all things, hoping for the time when every bad habit, every false notion, every evil desire, every thoughtless moment will have been subdued. They hope for strength to resist temptation, for help to avoid error, for courage to face adversity, for power to bring to pass much righteousness. Their hope is a bright, vitalizing, liberating power, for they know in whom they trust:
… Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good, in faith believing that ye shall receive, behold, it shall be done unto you. (Moroni 7:26.)
Not only the personal but also the social problems of mankind are lightened through hope in Christ. He who mourns the tyranny in human history can hope for the reign of Him whose right it is to rule, knowing that righteousness will triumph over evil. He sees a day when men will serve God, not mammon the time of true brotherhood, real peace, and genuine prosperity for all. He sees order in homes, love in families, and consideration and kindness for all. He hopes for the new world which is to be built upon the ashes of the old
But the greatest hope of the servant of God is not for this life. That hope is for eternity, where God and the angels dwell, where Satan is bound forever. He hopes for the perpetuity of the family wherein he and his dear wife, his parents, and his children can live and serve together in freedom and love forever. He hopes to gaze unashamedly into the face of the great Being who gave His all for mankind. He hopes to do the works of righteousness and godliness always. Thus, if a man has faith, he can have hope; if he has hope, then he can endure the trials of the world unto the salvation of his soul.
When a man has this faith and hope in Christ, Mormon emphasizes, then he can have and needs to have the greatest of all virtues, which is charity, the pure love of Christ. This pure love is a gift from God through His Holy Spirit, which gift comes to all who seek it through faith. No man can love purely except he be taught how to do so by God; no one can return good for evil always, as pure love demands, except he has a hope in Christ. This virtue is so important that if his faith and hope do not lead him to that pure love, then he is nothing. That love is the bond which Elijah spoke of which would keep the earth from being utterly wasted. It is the ultimate power of the holy priesthood and the highest fruit of its ordinances. That love is the only motivation sufficient to enable a man or woman to overcome all things. It is a pure, selfless love for God and for one’s fellowmen, and through it comes the joy for which man was created.
In answer to the question what does it mean to seek first the kingdom of Cod and his righteousness?” we might well answer that it means to attain fullness of faith, hope, and charity, through the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. We are much indebted to Mormon and Moroni for preserving for us these precious teachings, and we could well heed Mormon’s plea:
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. Amen. (Moroni 7:48.)
Library File Reference: Charity
- For Course 15. lesson of December 12. “Moroni’ s Farewell’:
- For Course 17. lesson of November 21. “Salvation Available to All”;
- General interest to courses 9. 13. 27, and 29; to support Family Home Evening lesson 40;
- Of general interest.
*Chauncey c. Riddle is a professor of philosophy and chairman of the Department of Graduate Studies in Religious Instruction at Brigham Young University. He obtained his B.S. in 1947 from BYU and both his M.A. in 1951 and Ph.D. in 1958 from Columbia University. He presently serves on the high council of Sharon (Utah) Stake. His wife is the former Bertha Allred. They have eight children.