It Persuadeth Men to Do Good

Ether 4 (Éter 4)

Faith is at the crux of all things. Without faith, we do not progress spiritually. Without faith, we do not fulfill our purpose. We do not understand who Christ is without faith.

Y para los fieles, hay grandes promesas si siguen fieles hasta el final.

These verses are a hidden treasure to me, on par with other more well know passages where the voice of our Lord is more readily known. Herein are several promises of faith, or a set of strong motivators to seek after faith. These promises have resonated deeply with me this morning. Partly because of the blessings that I have already received. Partly because of the hope of greater insights and blessings yet to be received.

The middle of this chapter is a long quotation that Moroni includes here of the word of the Lord Jesus Christ directly from the His mouth. I have to work to remind myself that this is Jesus speaking. He even addresses here this mortal tendency to doubt His words even though they be His words.

And he that believeth not my words believeth not my disciples; and if it so be that I do not speak, judge ye; for ye shall know that it is I that speaketh, at the last day…

…He that will not believe my words will not believe me—that I am; and he that will not believe me will not believe the Father who sent me.

Verses 10 & 12

The thing that I am appreciating most about this obscure passage is how familiar His voice is in these passages: these are the words of Christ.

I have gone back to the beginning of the chapter and been caused to consider the revelation given to the brother of Jared that he was subsequently commanded to seal up and keep hidden from the world until the faith of the people should be sufficient to understand all these things, according to the will of God. There was a period of time wherein the Nephites, after Christ’s personal ministry to them, were given this revelation, but then it was taken away.

The only way to get the Lord to give this knowledge back to us is to, as a group, increase in our faith. It is not a solo enterprise.

Back in this long quoted passage which comes straight from the mouth of the Lord:

But he that believeth these things which I have spoken, him will I visit with the manifestations of my Spirit, and he shall know and bear record. For because of my Spirit he shall know that these things are true; for it persuadeth men to do good.

Verse 11 (emphasis added)

If these are not the words of Christ, these words exhorts us to judge for ourselves. But if they are the words of Christ (and I believe they are ), then this is of momentous importance. Furthermore, this verse 11 resonates so deeply with me, because of my personal experience with the Book of Mormon over now many, many years. I believe the things which Christ has spoken, and I have been visited time and again with the manifestations of the Spirit, and because of this reality (this is my lived reality), I know its true.

I stood in a testimony meeting recently in a distant city, and testified of the Christ. It seemed strange to me how simple and strong that witness came to me, and with such clarity. Yet, this verse 11 offers to me an explanation of why that happened the way that it did, and why it was so. I know this is true.

I need to sit with the comparison that is found in verse 12, and my interpretation of this precept, many times erroneous.

“And whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do good is of me; for agood cometh of none save it be of me. I am the same that leadeth men to all good;”

Elsewhere in the Book of Mormon, we can read similar passages that offer even more of a comparison between Christ and the devil:

  • “…For there is nothing which is good save it comes from the Lord: and that which is evil cometh from the devil.” – Omni 1:25
  • “For I say unto you that whatsoever is good cometh from God, and whatsoever is evil cometh from the devil.” – Alma 5:40
  • Moroni 7:12-17 offers the most detailed insights on the topic.

I am now returning from a weekend at youth conference. The verses I read today talk about the mysteries of God being revealed to those who have faith sufficient to believe.

This chapter ends with the words of Christ telling us, telling me that the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and my faith in the Christ will bring me to understand that the Father hath made covenants with our fathers long ago which impact me today. We are witnessing the fulfillment of promises made by God millennia ago. We are a part of the time that John saw in revelations and which are being now fulfilled. The time has already come and the work is already commenced. Those that now believe and are baptized shall be saved in the Kingdom of God.

These final verses ARE the words of Christ. This is His voice telling me what I must know to return to him. And because these things are not logical, tangible, nor able to be proven with scientific means of observation (exclusively), they will always be discounted by the world. And yet this is where the truth IS.

And blessed is he that is found faithful unto my name at the last day, for he shall be lifted up to dwell in the kingdom prepared for him from the foundation of the world. And behold it is I that hath spoken it. Amen.

Vs. 19

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