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Christ Is the Way

In the most famous sermon ever given, Jesus began by pronouncing wonderfully gentle blessings which every one of us wants to claim—blessings promised to the poor in spirit, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and the meek (Matthew 5:3–12). How edifying these beatitudes are and how soothing they are to the soul. They are true, but in the same sermon, the Savior went on, showing how increasingly strait the way of the peacemaker and the pure in heart would need to be. “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill,” He observed. “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother . . . shall be in danger of the judgment” (Matthew 5:21–22; see 3Nephi 12:22). “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:27–28).

Obviously as the path of discipleship ascends, that trail gets ever more narrow until we come to the knee-buckling pinnacle of the sermon of which Elder Christofferson just spoke: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). What was gentle in the lowlands of initial loyalty becomes deeply strenuous and very demanding at the summit of true discipleship. Clearly anyone who thinks Jesus taught no-fault theology did not read the fine print in the contract! No, in matters of discipleship the Church is not a fast-food outlet; we can’t always have it “our way.” Some day every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ and that salvation can only come His way.

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