Finding Hope

For many in our modern world, the word hope comes with a hint of uncertainty, hoping for something, that we may already believe is unlikely to happen. However, in the Gospel of Jesus Christ hope is described as “…firm hope…” (Alma 34:41) and a “…lively hope…” (1 Peter 1:3). Hope is unwavering and sure.

Hope comes through faith, for “…faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

The Prophet Moroni taught “… whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.” (Ether 12:4)

Hope comes to us by living a life of faith in God.

One can hope for a better world, a better life, peace from a disaster or joy in times of sorrow. However, the first step in finding this peace and joy is by having faith in Jesus Christ. We must rely completely on Him, trusting in His infinite power, intelligence and love.

Following Him, means: Believing and following His teachings, which also means keeping His commandments. Believing that even though we do not understand all things, He does. For “Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite” (Psalm 147:5).

As a follower of Jesus Christ, we become one of His disciples, it is no coincidence that disciple is so similar to the word discipline. Following anything, requires discipline.

Discipline by definition is “control gained by enforcing obedience…” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Obedience requires self-control, it requires dedication and a lot of work. The scriptures teach us that “… faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (James 2:17-18)

Work requires Action.

Our Belief and Faith can be expressed through our Actions – by the way in which we live.

The Savior promised that “If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.” (Moroni 7:33) Living our lives by faith will motivate us to follow Jesus Christ and His teachings. In fact, Jesus Himself taught that; “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do…” (John 14:12).

As a Disciple of Jesus Christ, not only are we to follow His example, but He encourages us to strive to do even more! Faith in Jesus Christ and in His Gospel helps us to receive physical, spiritual, mental and emotional healing through His Atonement.

He knew that life would not always be easy. He taught us that “…in the world ye shall have tribulation:  but be of good cheer; for I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).

We too can overcome the world.

Speaking to the Romans, the Apostle Paul taught;

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; … because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly… God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” (Romans 5:1-11)

The Apostle Paul knew that we should glory in the difficult times, for these challenges work our patience and give us experience. This experience gives us strength and through Jesus Christ and His Atonement or sacrifice, we too can overcome the world.

Remember, Hope comes through Faith. 

Hope can sustain us through everyday challenges.

Hope can provide us with joy in this life, for “Happy is [them]… whose hope is in the Lord his God” (Psalm 146: 5).

We must strengthen our faith through our discipleship, and “…press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Chris, and endure to the end, behold… Ye shall have eternal life.” (2 Nephi 31:20)

Wild flower growing out of concrete cracked | Geri Gibbons

Galatians 3

Galatians 3: Children of Christ

                Paul addresses the Galatians and asks them; “Are ye so foolish? …are ye now made perfect by the flesh? …He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” (Galations 3:3,5)

Paul is essentially asking the Galatians if they are justified by the law or by their faith in Jesus Christ. Many of the Galatians believed that if they followed the letter of the law, they would be saved. During this period of time in History the law was either directly from the scriptures or derived from the scriptures.  So one could say they are following all of the laws, but without having a true intent in their heart at following the commandments of God and having faith in Jesus Christ… they would not be saved.

Here is a modern day example: Someone drives 50 mph in a 25 mph zone. They obviously broke the law by doubling the speed limit. But, will they be judged of that by God? No, because they have not broken God’s law. If that person pays the ticket and goes on living a good life following the law of God, they will be saved. Let’s say that same person decides to speed down the sidewalk with the intent on killing someone. Now that person has still broken the law, but they have also broken God’s law by murdering someone. God will judge them now, and the chances of them being saved and returning to live with God has drastically gone down. However, we cannot say for sure what will ultimately happen to that person… because God will judge them in the end, and only HE can decide.

Paul goes on to explain that because we ALL are part of the Covenant, the same one made by Abraham we all have the potential to return to our Heavenly Father. This is so, because we can; “…receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” (Galatians 3:14)

Justified by Faith Alone?

                Some argue that it is by faith alone that we can return to live with God. Is it really that simple? Paul points out that “…the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Galatians 3:24) Paul is saying that we are given commandments and laws to guide us so that we can not only have faith, but live by it. If someone has faith in Jesus Christ, they also have faith in His teachings. Jesus Christ taught that we are supposed to live a good life, filled with service, love and joy. Can someone truly have faith in Jesus Christ if they don’t live by His teachings? No, and that is why faith and works go hand-in-hand. In the very next verse Paul states; “…after that faith is come we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” (Galatians 3:25) Does that mean we no longer need to live by His laws? Absolutely not, but now that we have obtained our faith… we know how to live without someone having to tell us. The laws and commandments are known and our disobedience and lack of discipline will distant us from Him.  True DISCIPLEs of Christ, are  DISCIPLined in Christ’s teachings.

Paul ends this chapter by explaining how we are all counted under the Abrahamic Covenant; “For ye are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then ye are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29)