…But the riches of a dreamer
And the gift of sacrifice
and the guts to stand alone
Will take you home
……The Poet, The Preacher and the Prophet – Scott Stover
Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life
and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life ; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth’s sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do his will, he does know, most
assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not, nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life. (Lectures on Faith 6:7)
During the past few months and years, I have found myself being asked to sacrifice many things in the interest of truth – actually in the interest of keeping my covenant to know God, even to become one with Him. It’s been an interesting experience so far. The Lord has been very merciful with me during this time. He has also been very patient. The sacrifices required have gradually increased in intensity, gravity, and difficulty. With each one conquered, blessings increase, and the next one is a little more grave.
I learned just yesterday why this is so important. It all just sort of fell into place for me while I was sitting in seat 2D on the flight from Burbank to Salt Lake City. You see, every time the Lord asks a sacrifice of us – be it praying and study time, fasting from meat, or laying one’s long-promised only son on the altar – He is saying, “Do you love this more than you love me?” If, by resisting the requested sacrifice, you answer “Yes – I love this thing more than I love You”, he says, “OK. I will wait,” and that “thing” will continue to stand between you and Him, preventing you from truly becoming one with Him.
When we start our journey into His presence, there are many things that stand between us and Him. Babylon likes it that way, and the adversary has done an excellent job of making sure that is the case. We each have our own unique line-up of things that we love more than Him. If we wish to approach Him, they must be taken down, one by one, as we willingly lay them on the altar. As we do, we grow closer to Him and the blessings of being nearer to Him increase. If we are slow about it, it’s ok. He will wait. Unfortunately, although I am not an expert on the nature of the next life, I suspect that our opportunity to lay these things on the altar is limited to this mortal probation.
And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them; (Abraham 3:25)
We see from the Sixth Lecture quote above that it is ONLY through the sacrifice of all things that man can hope to achieve eternal life. In verse 9, we read the following:
As all the visible creation is an effect of faith, so is salvation also—we mean salvation in its most extensive latitude of interpretation, whether it is temporal or spiritual. In order to have this subject clearly set before the mind, let us ask what situation must a person be in in order to be saved? or what is the difference between a saved man and one who is not saved We answer, from what we have before seen of the heavenly worlds, they must be persons who can work by faith and who are able, by faith, to be ministering spirits to them who shall be heirs of salvation ; and they must have faith to enable them to act in the presence of the Lord, otherwise they cannot be saved. And what constitutes the real difference between a saved person and one not saved is—the difference in the degree of their faith —one’s faith has become perfect enough to lay hold upon eternal life, and the other’s has not.
Where can we find this prototype of a saved man? Also from verse 9:
We ask, then, where is the prototype ? or where is the saved being? We conclude, as to the answer of this question, there will be no dispute among those who believe the Bible, that it is Christ: all will agree in this, that he is the prototype or standard of salvation ; or, in other words, that he is a saved being.
So, Christ is our prototype of a saved man – the “standard of salvation”. The Christ who sacrificed all things to the will of the Father. The Christ who condescended to come to earth, only to suffer the burden all the sin, injustice, mourning, sickness and pain associated with the fall – to suffer these things in Gethsemane. The very Christ who gave his life on Calvary that we might be resurrected. If He is the prototype, we must become like Him. Thus, we, too, must ultimately lay all things, even our life, on the altar before Him.
The formula for salvation; the formula to gain eternal life; is very simple. We must lay “all things” on the altar before the Lord. We must be willing to sacrifice anything the Lord asks of us, until we love nothing more than we love Him. Ordinances may invite us to be saved, and they may show us the way, but they cannot save us. Only if we are willing to sacrifice all things unto the will of the Lord, that we might become one with Him, can we hope to gain our salvation. If we are slow to lay some things on the altar, it’s ok. He’s very patient.