CONSUMED "IN" CHRIST!
Updated: Jan 3
CONSUMED IN CHRIST
President Ezra Taft Benson said: “we must be not only captained by Christ, but also “consumed” IN Christ if we ever hope to find Him, and the salvation or Eternal Life that He offers us. The word “in” in the Greek language means “Dependent upon”. Therefore to be consumed “IN” Christ would be to be something akin to having our Natural Man Self burned out of us or Consumed through our surrender to Christ. I really hope this book will help you on this most glorious of journeys. And please know that the journey can be as glorious and joyful as the end thereof. After all, life is a journey, a vision quest, a Gift, if you will accept it, that we are sent upon to find and experience the Pearl of Great Price. What is the “Pearl of Great Price”, you ask?
I have used the first letter of each word in that last phrase for a specific purpose. A word that is capitalized means that it refers to something or someone specific; whereas, if the word is not capitalized it typically refers to general things. I would encourage you to search your scriptures with that thought in mind. You may discover some interesting scriptural secrets, or what the Lord call His “mysteries”. Be aware of each word and what it means.
The greatest of all the mysteries of God is the Mystery of Christ. I choose for you to know that if you hope to obtain “Eternal Life”, you must choose to have the Mystery of Christ revealed to you. The Prophet Joseph Smith said: “If you do not receive the Mysteries of God, you must be damned.” “You cannot be damned for believing too much, but for believing too little.” And please understand that the word “damned” means to be stopped in forward progress. It does not mean to be cast away forever into fire and brimstone.
The Holy Spirit is your personal Revelator. You can learn more and faster in any subject by the power of the Holy Spirit. “Revelation, said Pres. Joseph F. Smith, is not discovery, it is Recovery.” “Re-cover-y” means to find again something we have only temporarily lost or forgotten or had veiled from our understandings.. And as the Lord said in D&C 76:114-119:
115. Which He commanded us we should not write while we were yet in the Spirit, and are not lawful for man to utter;
117. To whom He grants this privilege of seeing and knowing for themselves;
119. And to God and the Lamb be glory, and honor, and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Do you understand the Lord’s point here is that there are certain mysteries of God that man CANNOT teach you and in fact, cannot even be uttered by man? The only way you may know these Mysteries is to have them revealed to you by the power AND manifestation of the Spirit. The second point that is iterated here by the Lord is that in order for you to be able to bear His “Presence” in the world of Glory, you must have the mysteries revealed to you by, and ONLY by, the Holy Spirit. Do you see your predicament?
Are you used to thinking that you can obtain every thing you need to know and do from the scriptures alone? The scriptures are only the beginning of your learning process. In fact, as Parley P Pratt pointed out: “The scriptures are given to invite us to the Feast.” Scriptures may be spiritual food, but they are not the ultimate Feast. Scriptures are symbols or words representing the Feast but can never be the actual Feast!!! They are given to point to or invite us and bring us to the Feast. The Feast, whatever that is, is found in discovery of the Mystery of Christ.
Elder Pratt also pointed out the same principle in his writing called: “The Coming Crisis”, wherein he said:
No man in any age was ever for God or even a friend of God, that did not hold intercourse with Him personally, and receive for himself the revelations of His will. The rock of revelation, by which Peter knew Jesus Christ, is the only basis upon which any man can escape the strong delusion which God will send among the nations, through Satan and his mediums and coadjutors. The time has come that God will write His law upon every man's heart, that will receive it, not with ink, but with the Spirit of the Living God. Do you say you don't need any more revelation from God? Then the Devil will be allowed to give you some which you don't need. You cannot know God without present (personal) revelation. Did you ever think of this most solemn and essential truth before? You may have been accustomed to pray, all your lifetime, and as yet you, even you, do not know God. You may have heard many thousand sermons, with a sincere desire both to remember and practice them, and yet you do not know God. But it has been decided in the court of heaven, that no man can know the Father, but the Son, and he to whom the Son revealeth him. Now, has Jesus Christ ever revealed God the Father to you, dear reader? Be honest with yourself, and do not err in your answer to this most important question. However much the Son may have revealed the Father to Prophets, Patriarchs, and Apostles of old, the question still remains in full force -- has he revealed Him to you?
A revelation to another man is by no means a revelation to you. For instance, God revealed himself to Samuel, and called him by name to be a Prophet. But the call to Samuel is by no means a call to you to be a Prophet. God called Abraham to kill Isaac, but that is no revelation to you to kill your son. God revealed the baptism of repentance unto John the Baptist, before Christ's death, but that is not a revelation to you. He revealed authority to Paul to preach to the Gentiles, but what was told to Paul is not told to you, nor is it required of you. Again, you need the righteousness OF God to go where God is, and be happy--and how will you get it except it is revealed to you personally? You cannot get it in any other way. Hence the Lord says, "The righteousness OF God is revealed from faith to faith." The Millennial Star Issue of April 30, 1853 Volume 15, pages 273-276, 289-292 Attributed to Parley P. Pratt
The Savior chastised and rebuked the Pharisees and Jews about their motive for, and the way in which they studied “The Law” in order to illiterate the method to “save themselves”. He chided them, much as He probably will us, by saying: “Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have Eternal Life.”
They actually were searching the scriptures in order to discover some specific exact number of Laws and/or principles whereby, if they could recite and live by these specific “Laws” perfectly, then they would forge ahead of everyone else to earn for themselves a great reward in the Kingdom of God. They actually thought they could earn a greater reward or larger mansion in Heaven based upon their circumspectly living “all the commandments of God”. This great reward they called “Eternal Life”. So “Eternal Life” to them became a matter and function of how well educated they were in “The Law” and the rituals associated with “The Law”. Their standing before God, and the people was determined by their ability to appear perfect in keeping ALL the commandments and ordinances perfectly. They were continually watching each other to see if anyone made a mistake, thereby enabling themselves to jump another rung up the ladder if someone else made a mistake. Isaiah called this “watching for iniquity”. Or if anyone was particularly able to offer more, or greater, sacrifices than another then they thought they would earn a greater reward. This flawed perspective is not much different than certain beliefs in the world that some religious fanatics (Suicide terrorists) hold that tells them that if they are able to sacrifice their own life while “taking out of this world” one or more evil people (of another belief system), then they themselves will be greatly rewarded in the “after-life” (with a great mansion and 50 wives and everything they can imagine).
It becomes rather obvious to see that if righteousness is determined by the number of ritual sacrifices or the relative cost of the sacrifices one would make, then Eternal Life and the greater rewards would go to those who enrich themselves (even at the expense of others) such as “devouring widow’s Houses” and “grinding the faces of the poor”, so that they could afford more goats to kill than their nearest competitor or that they could afford goats or cows to kill instead of the measly birds that the poor people were able to offer as sacrifice. This viewpoint resulted in a prideful, competitive, envious, jealousy-ridden caste system in which survival of the fittest is the rule and you obtain more for yourself in eternity by beating out your neighbor and kicking him when he is down and climbing the corporate ladder of “success” and earning more money so you can buy more important sacrifices to show oneself as greater than everyone else.
It is no wonder the Lord said in Isaiah 1 that He is full of (sick of) their offering rams and bulls and lambs and he goats (every true competitor thinks that he goats are better than she goats.- of course, not every competitor knows that competition is a function of pride and ego which is the natural man that is an enemy to God and which pride keeps one out of the God’s Presence). He said: “Bring no more vain oblations, these are abomination and iniquity, I am weary of your multitude of sacrifices, you hands are full of blood and you must make you clean.”
Can you imagine the Lord telling you that the very thing you thought would earn you Eternal Life is a great abomination to Him? What if He revealed to you that all your costly sacrifices and all you had given your life to is motivated by selfishness and vanity? I hope you are sitting down. Please do not shoot the messenger, but frankly He did say that to us: all of us; and especially those of us who “think” we are “righteous”.
Paul said: Israel has always sought for righteousness, but never found it, because they sought it by the “Works of the Law.” And then Paul said the “Works of the Law” are a great stumbling stone.
President Benson reiterated three times, in his position as servant of the Lord, that the Lord wanted us to know that the WHOLE CHURCH, has been and is under condemnation because of (1) Vanity (Selfishness, Ego, Pride), thinking we can earn great rewards by our deeds and keeping “The Law” perfectly; and (2) Unbelief. The Lord spoke very specifically when he said that WHOLE CHURCH meant “even ALL the children of Zion.” Somehow, deep down inside, I have the weird feeling that when the Lord says “ALL”, that He really means “ALL”.
Now if we are humble and teachable, we now have an opportunity to ask: “Lord, is it I?” And when He says YES, then we might want to ask “How are we just like the Pharisees and Jews of old whom He reprimanded and WHY are we just like them? What did the Saviour say to them and invariably to us as well?
“Search the scriptures, for in them you THINK you have Eternal Life, and they (the scriptures) are they which testify of Me, and (Sadly) ye will NOT come unto Me, that you might have Eternal Life. You have not His (God’s) WORD abiding in you; for He whom He hath sent, Him ye believe not.”
Now, that is a scathing reprimand to us at first look. We, like the Pharisees of old, have thought that the “principles” or “works of the Law” discovered by reading the scriptures are what earns us eternal life if we live according to those principles or works. We have thought that we can perfect and save our great big Selves by our own righteousness, by our works of the Law, by living every commandment and principle perfectly, by making our Selves into a God by obtaining powers and perfections in our deeds. This is what Paul called “Dead works”. Both Paul and Lehi made it absolutely clear that “no man is justified by the Law; for the Law perfecteth NOTHING.”
And then the Lord pointed out to us, that we break the New and Everlasting Covenant which He, in His great Love, sent into the world to bring us back to Him and to “Re-ceive” the Gift of Eternal Life through His Son. He said about how we break the New Covenant: “Ye seek NOT the Lord, to establish HIS Righteousness, but every man walketh after the Image of his OWN God” For most of us, our own God is the image we have created of making our “Selves” as a future God by our own “supposed” righteousness, rather than having an eye single to God and rather than seeing “HIS” Righteousness.
He is constantly inviting us to “Come unto Me” and “enter into My Rest”. He is constantly inviting us to “Come unto Christ is and BE perfected in Him”. He is constantly inviting us to “BE” “Eternally embraced in the arms of His Love” The choice is ours. It only takes a split second to make a choice – it does not take forever or even a lifetime of preparing ourselves. The plan of Re-demption comes about unto us IMMEDIATELY, as we turn to Him and choose Him as our Re-deemer, and Saviour and our Deliverer from death and Hell and sin. He is the One who has already covenanted to perfect us and save us and cleanse us every whit and make us Holy, without Spot, and to pour out His love and Light upon us. Can we choose that? Should we choose that? What is the other choice? To suffer? To languish in Self-ishness and Pride and Fear and Depression and Despair and lust and judgmental-ness and envy and jealousy and competition and contention and hate and war until we have had enough? After we have had enough pain, we will realize that peace and joy and love and “rest” is found in Him, not in “me”.
Read on if you dare. Hopefully you will find the Love of God in these pages. That is my desire for you with all my heart.
 "It is the FIRST principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, and to know that we may converse with Him as one man converses with another, --Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. pp. 345, 346.