Posted in Gospel Doctrine 2015, LDS Doctrine, New Testament

Gospel Doctrine 2015 – Lesson 43 – “A Chosen Generation”

  1. Live in faith and holiness as a chosen generation.

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

‘Unto a lively hope – The word lively we now use commonly in the sense of active, animated, quick; the word used here, however, means living, in contradistinction from that which is dead. The hope which they had, had living power. It was not cold, inoperative, dead. It was not a mere form – or a mere speculation – or a mere sentiment; it was that which was vital to their welfare, and which was active and powerful.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

1 Peter 1: 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

‘I keep struggling toward the Father’s perspective of mortality. Every now and then I catch a glimpse of things from his perspective. Such glimpses give me strength; they fill me with courage; they replenish my gratitude to overflowing. See yourself as the Father sees you-glorious, eternal, capable of infinite love, worthy of his infinite love.

The Apostle Peter, in his first epistle to the Saints in the northern part of Asia Minor, opens his letter with this same vision of courage, comfort, and strength: (quotes 1 Peter 1:3-7.)

Isn’t that a wonderful idea? The Father has given us an inheritance in heaven that will never perish, spoil, or fade. It’s there for us right now! We can rejoice in it right now! Yes, we have problems and trials. Yes, we may suffer grief. But these trials will prove that our faith is genuine. Notice that Peter doesn’t threaten the Saints (“you’d better pass this test!”) or sound anxious (“oh, dear, I hope you can pass this test!”). Instead he assures them that their faith will be proved genuine and will increase the “praise, glory, and honor” that will greet our Savior when Jesus returns a second time to the earth.’ (Chieko Okazaki, Lighten Up!)

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1 Peter 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

‘Think clean thoughts. Those who think clean thoughts do not do filthy deeds. You are responsible before God not only for your acts but also for controlling your thoughts. So live that you would not blush with shame if your thoughts and acts should be flashed on a screen in your chapel. The old adage is still true that you sow thoughts and you reap acts, you sow acts and you reap habits, you sow habits and you reap a character, and your character determines your eternal destiny. “As [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7)’. (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 445 – 446.)

 1 Peter 1:14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

‘Today’s “manner of conversation” seems to involve the Internet more and more. We encourage people, young and old, to use the Internet and the social media to reach out and share their religious beliefs.

As you utilize the Internet, you may come across ongoing conversations about the Church. When directed by the Spirit, do not hesitate to add your voice to these conversations.

The message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is unlike anything else you will share with others. In the information age, it is the most valuable information in all the world. There is no question about its worth. It is a pearl of great price.

In speaking about the Church, we do not try to make it sound better than it is. We do not need to put a spin on our message. We need to communicate the message honestly and directly. If we will open communication channels, the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ will prove itself to those who are prepared to receive it.’ (L Tom Perry, General Conference, October 2011)

1 Peter 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

“The nature of the sacrificial offerings required by the law of Moses suggests parallels to the gospel. For example, the unblemished condition of the sacrificial animals anticipated Christ’s fitness as a worthy sacrifice, for he redeemed us with his ‘precious blood … as of a lamb without blemish and without spot’ (1 Pet. 1:18-19).” (Stephen D. Ricks, “The Law of Sacrifice,”Ensign, June 1998, 27)

 1 Peter 1:20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

‘The Son of God was foreordained, to come as a Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world, to die for man and atone for the original sin, and to bring to pass the resurrection from the dead, he being the firstfruits of them that slept. God designed that he should come here and be clothed upon with humanity. He designed we should struggle and contend here in this probation with a glimmering of knowledge, a little light. He gave unto us his word. He has commanded us to seek unto him, and he that seeks shall find, to him that knocks it shall be opened, and he that asks shall receive.’ (George Q Cannon, Journal of Discourses)

1 Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

‘No one is made pure without personal intention or effort – any more than one becomes accomplished or learned without personal exertion.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

 1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

‘The Lord has constituted us as a people for a special mission. As He told Enoch in ancient times, the day in which we live would be one of darkness, but it would also be a time when righteousness would come down from heaven, and truth would be sent forth out of the earth to bear, once more, testimony of Christ and His atoning mission. As with a flood, that message would sweep the world, and the Lord’s elect would be gathered out from the four quarters of the earth. Wherever we live in the world, we have been molded as a people to be the instruments of the Lord’s peace. In the words of Peter, we have been claimed by God for His own, to proclaim the triumph of Him “who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God.” We cannot afford to be caught up in a world prone to give and to take offense. Rather, as the Lord revealed to both Paul and Mormon, we must neither envy nor be puffed up in pride. We are not easily provoked, nor do we behave unseemly. We rejoice not in iniquity but in the truth. Surely this is the pure love of Christ which we represent. (Robert S Wood, General Conference, April 2006)’

  1. Follow the Savior’s example in enduring trials and persecution.

1 Peter 2: 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

“Being buffeted when we are right and when we have done good-that’s often a test!” (Neal A Maxwell, Deposition of a Disciple 92 – 93.)

 1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

‘There is nothing in the Gospel that is nonessential. Every principle that has been revealed unto us is necessary for the salvation of man, for I tell you before we are fit to dwell in the presence of God and enjoy the fulness of his glory we must become like him. Latter-day Saints, the ordinances of the Gospel will not save you, they are only aids to salvation. What, then, will save us? A knowledge of truth and the practice thereof, nothing else. We must learn the ways of God. We must walk in his paths. We must be Saints in very deed, and walk in the footsteps of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,  (1 Peter 2:21) and then, by-and-by, where he is we will be also.’ (Charles W Penrose, Journal of Discourses)

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1 Peter 3:13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?

‘Let us then seek to do right, and take a correct and proper course in all things; and, if all things do not work always according to our ideas and notions, never mind, leave these things in the hands of God, he will direct and overrule everything for the welfare of those who do right. “No man can harm you, if you be followers of that which is good.” (1 Peter 3:13) It is for us all to take a course that we may secure the favor and approbation of the Almighty, that we individually may be led by him, having his spirit always with us.’ (John Taylor, Journal of Discourses)

 1 Peter 3:14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;

‘The meaning here is, not that they would find positive enjoyment in persecution on account of righteousness, but that they were to regard it as a blessed condition; that is, as a condition that might be favorable to salvation; and they were not therefore, on the whole, to regard it as an evil.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

 1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Many years ago I boarded a plane in San Francisco en route to Los Angeles. As I sat down, the seat next to mine was empty. Soon, however, there occupied that seat a most lovely young lady. As the plane became airborne, I noticed that she was reading a book. As one is wont to do, I glanced at the title: A Marvelous Work and a Wonder. I mustered up my courage and said to her, “Excuse me. You must be a Mormon.”

She replied, “Oh, no. Why do you ask?”

I said, “Well, you’re reading a book written by LeGrand Richards, a very prominent leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

She responded, “Is that right? A friend gave this book to me, but I don’t know much about it. However, it has aroused my curiosity.”

I wondered silently, Should I be forward and say more about the Church? The words of the Apostle Peter crossed my mind: “Be ready always to give an answer to every [one] that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.” I decided that now was the time for me to share my testimony with her. I told her that it had been my privilege years before to assist Elder Richards in printing that book. I mentioned the great missionary spirit of this man and told her of the many thousands of people who had embraced the truth after reading that which he had prepared. Then it was my privilege, during the remainder of the flight, to answer her questions relative to the Church-intelligent questions which came from the heart, which I perceived was a heart seeking truth. I asked if I might have an opportunity to have the missionaries call upon her. I asked if she would like to attend one of our wards in San Francisco, where she lived. Her answers were affirmative. She gave me her name-Yvonne Ramirez-and indicated that she was a flight attendant on her way to an assignment.

Upon returning home I wrote to the mission president and the stake president, advising them of my conversation and that I had written to her and sent along some suggested reading. Incidentally, young men, I recommended that rather than sending two elders to this pretty off-duty flight attendant and her pretty roommate, two lady missionaries be assigned to call.

Several months passed by. Then I received a telephone call from the stake president, who asked, “Brother Monson, do you remember sitting next to a flight attendant on a trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles earlier this fall?” I answered affirmatively. He continued, “I thought you would like to know that Yvonne Ramirez has just become the most recently baptized and confirmed member of the Church. She would like to speak with you.”

A sweet voice came on the line: “Brother Monson, thank you for sharing with me your testimony. I am the happiest person in all the world.”

As tears filled my eyes and gratitude to God enlarged my soul, I thanked her and commended her on her search for truth and, having found it, her decision to enter those waters which cleanse and purity and provide entrance to eternal life.

I sat silently for a few minutes after replacing the telephone receiver. The words of our Savior coursed through my mind: “And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” (D&C 84:88)

Such is the promise to all of us when we pursue our missionary opportunities and follow the counsel and obey the commandments of Jesus of Nazareth, our Savior and our King. (Thomas S Monson, “That All May Hear,” Ensign, May 1995, 50)

 1 Peter 3:16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

 17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

As we endure a tiny fraction of what He endured, we come to know the “fellowship of his sufferings.” (Philippians 3:10.) It is the most exclusive fraternity, and the dues are high. (Neal A Maxwell, We Will Prove Them Herewith, 117-118.)

  1. Partake of the divine nature and strive to make your calling and election sure.

2 Peter 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

‘Somebody once asked President Romney how one could know when he is converted. President Romney answered: “He may be assured of it when by the power of the Holy Spirit his soul is healed. When this occurs, he will recognize it by the way he feels, for he will feel as the people of Benjamin felt when they received remission of sins. The record says, ‘… the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience. …’ (Mosiah 4:3).

Peter describes what happens in a full conversion: We become “partakers of the divine nature”

It is through this total conversion experience that we truly come to personally know and feel the character and greatness of God. It is the means whereby we become not only servants of the Lord but His friends as well.’ (Dale E Miller, General Conference, October 2004)

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2 Peter 1: 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

‘It is not meant in this verse and the following that we are to endeavor particularly to add these things one to another “in the order” in which they are specified, or that we are to seek first to have faith, and then to add to that virtue, and then to add knowledge to virtue rather than to faith, etc. The order in which this is to be done, the relation which one of these things may have to another, is not the point aimed at; nor are we to suppose that any other order of the words would not have answered the purpose of the apostle as well, or that anyone of the virtues specified would not sustain as direct a relation to any other, as the one which he has specified. The design of the apostle is to say, in an emphatic manner, that we are to strive to possess and exhibit all these virtues; in other words, we are not to content ourselves with a single grace, but are to cultivate all the virtues, and to endeavor to make our piety complete in all the relations which we sustain. ‘ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

 2 Peter 1:6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

“President David O. McKay once said, ‘A man who cannot control his temper is not very likely to control his passion, and no matter what his pretensions in religion, he moves in daily life very close to the animal plane’ (Improvement Era, June 1958, p. 407).”

 2 Peter 1:7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

‘Brotherly kindness; a love to those that are of the household of faith. This is joined to godliness, to show that it is in vain to pretend to true religion and yet be destitute of brotherly love.

Charity; this is more general than the former, and relates to all men, even our enemies themselves.’ (Matthew Poole’s Commentary)

2 Peter 1:8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“The Apostle Peter tells us that when we possess these traits we are not ‘unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (2 Pet. 1:8; italics added.)

“To know the Savior, then, is to be like Him. God will bless us to be like His Son when we make an earnest effort.” (Ezra Taft Benson, “What Manner of Men Ought We to Be?” Ensign, Nov. 1983, 43)

2 Peter 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

“After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost, (by the laying on of hands) … then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter, which the Lord hath promised the Saints, as is recorded in the testimony of St. John.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 150.)

  1. Resist false teachers and those who deny the Second Coming.

2 Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

‘Who privily – That is, in a secret manner, or under plausible arts and pretences. They would not at first make an open avowal of their doctrines, but would, in fact, while their teachings seemed to be in accordance with truth, covertly maintain opinions which would sap the very foundations of religion. The Greek word here used, and which is rendered “who privily shall bring in,” (παρεισάγω pareisagō,) means properly “to lead in by the side of others; to lead in along with others.” Nothing could better express the usual way in which error is introduced. It is “by the side,” or “along with,” other doctrines which are true; that is, while the mind is turned mainly to other subjects, and is off its guard, gently and silently to lay down some principle, which, being admitted, would lead to the error, or from which the error would follow as a natural consequence. Those who inculcate error rarely do it openly. If they would at once boldly “deny the Lord that bought them,” it would be easy to meet them, and the mass of professed Christians would be in no danger of embracing the error. But when principles are laid down which may lead to that; when doubts on remote points are suggested which may involve it; or when a long train of reasoning is pursued which may secretly tend to it; there is much more probability that the mind will be corrupted from the truth.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

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 2 Peter 2:2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

 3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

‘A widespread apostasy from the Church was followed by an apostasy of the Church. This apostasy, which was repeatedly predicted, is attested by history, both sacred and profane. This fact is the justification for the claim of the Latter-day Saints that there has been a restoration of the gospel. This Church, then, is Christianity restored, together with the principles and ordinances, the priesthood and authority, as taught and exercised in the primitive Church. This is our declaration, my brothers and sisters. This is our warning voice to all men, that the God of heaven has set up his kingdom, which, as predicted by Daniel,

“. . . shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people . . . and it shall stand for ever” (Daniel 2:44) (Hugh B Brown, General Conference, April 1965)

2 Peter 2:10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

‘and despise government] More literally, lordship, or, perhaps better, dominion. In Ephesians 1:21, and Colossians 1:16 the word seems used of angelic authorities. Here apparently, …the abstract noun is used as including all forms of authority.’ (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)

2 Peter 2:12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;

‘Where is the man on the face of the wide earth who has a claim to a wife in eternity? There is not one outside of this church. They do not profess it, they know nothing of such a principle. The extent of their covenants is that they are married until death parts them, and that ends the matter. Who is there who has any idea of associating with their children in the eternal world? They think about it. There is nature, or a kind of instinct that leads to reflections of this sort. But they have not the privilege of entering into covenants of this kind. There are a great many other principles connected with this Gospel of which, as the scriptures say, they are as ignorant as brute beasts that were made to be taken and destroyed.’ (Joseph F Smith, Journal of Discourses)

 2 Peter 2:13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;

‘Sporting themselves – The Greek word here means to live delicately or luxuriously; to revel. The idea is not exactly that of sporting, or playing, or amusing themselves; but it is that they take advantage of their views to live in riot and luxury.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

 2 Peter 2:14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:

 15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;

“This single, inspired sentence enables us to put in proper perspective the whole story of Balaam the son of Beor who was entreated by Balak to curse Israel and bless Moab. (Num. 22, 23 and 24.) Though Balaam was true to his prophetic trust and delivered the Lord’s message of blessing to Israel and cursing to Moab, yet as here shown he ‘loved the wages of unrighteousness’; that is, he sought the honor and wealth offered him if he would curse the Lord’s chosen people. And how often it is that the honors of men and the wealth of the world lead members of the Church away from their duty and cause them to lose their souls!” (Bruce R McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 3: 361-362)

 2 Peter 2:16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.

‘ His transgression was that, although as a prophet he knew the blessedness of Israel, and although God gave him leave to go only on condition of his blessing Israel, he went still cherishing a hope of being able to curse, and so winning Balak’s promised reward.’ (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers)

 Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

The passage quoted in the text-“For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men,” etc. (Jude: 4), has given rise to discussion, the question at issue being as to whether the principle of pre-appointment or foreordination is here involved. A hasty and casual reading of the passage may suggest the inference that the “ungodly men” referred to had been appointed or “ordained” in the providence of God to sow the seeds of discord and dissension in the Church. A careful study of this scripture shows that no such inference is warranted. The “ungodly men” “who were before of old ordained to this condemnation” were men who had already, i.e., previously, been denounced, proscribed and condemned for the very heresies which now they were endeavoring to perpetuate in the Church, they having crept in unawares, or in other words, they having become members by false pretenses and profession, and being able because of their membership, to spread their false teachings more effectively. (James E Talmage, The Great Apostasy [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1958], 53.)

Jude 1:8 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.

‘Likewise also – In the same way do these persons defile the flesh, or resemble the inhabitants of Sodom; that is, they practice the same kind of vices. What the apostle says is, that their character resembled that of the inhabitants of Sodom; the example which he adduces of the punishment which was brought on those sinners, leaves it to be clearly inferred that the persons of whom he was speaking would be punished in a similar manner.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

Jude 1:18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

 19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.

‘The real tragedy of following false ideals is that by so doing we stifle and sometimes choke out spirituality completely. The body with its five or more senses, with its appetites and passions, is essential to life and happiness, but in the ultimate analysis it is only a means to a higher end. When man makes its gratification an end in itself, he frustrates the purpose of life and descends to sensuality.

Spirituality is the consciousness of victory over self, and of communion with the infinite. Spirituality impels one to conquer difficulties and acquire more and more strength. To feel one’s faculties unfolding and truth expanding the soul is one of life’s sublimest experiences.

Being “honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men,” are attributes which contribute to spirituality, the highest acquisition of the soul. It is “the divine in man, the supreme, crowning gift that makes him king of all created things, the one final quality that makes him tower above all other animals.”’ (David O McKay, Pathways to Happiness [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1957], 165.)

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