Integrity is the ultimate virtue for God and Man! Christ’s Power to bless you and me with Salvation and Exaltation comes only because of His Integrity. And without Personal Integrity, neither You nor I can be saved or exalted, even after all Christ has done for us!
When I was in College, my best friend, Kristi, sent me an article she learned about in her BYU religion class, “The Atonement” (“Of Jesus Christ”, by President Nelson). In it, I learned that the ONLY reason our Savior and Redeemer made His Atonement effective was His INTEGRITY! The elements and the universe would not have obeyed, nor our Heavenly Father, if Christ did not have Integrity. You see, because of Adam and Eve, death and sin came into this life, and we were cut off from God and Eternal Life. Christ’s father was our Heavenly Father, but he was also a mortal through Mary. However, Christ was without sin because of His Integrity. And because He had no sin, he could pay the price for the sins of all mankind and save us from death and eternal damnation. Christ became our Advocate. We were blessed with the choice of salvation and exaltation. It is a Choice, and you and I must make the right choice before it is too late.
What is Integrity?
The dictionary says, “Integrity is standing up for what you believe is right, living by your highest values”. I want to define Integrity in terms of Truth as revealed by God. “Integrity is standing up for what you KNOW is TRUE, living by CHRIST’S highest values”! Integrity is being True to Who I Am or Who You Are! The question is, “ Who are You? Who am I?”
Do You and I KNOW the Truth?
It is very important that we come to learn of the Truths of Life and Eternity. We must hear the Message of the Gospel. That is why the Lord calls full-time volunteers to teach The Truth. It was Christ’s last commandment to His disciples on earth. And it is His commandment today. We cannot be held accountable unless we know The Truth and the Laws. Most of you reading this message have already had that blessing. So, do we truly KNOW who we are?! We are taught that we are children of God.
Do you believe you are a Child of God? What are your Divine characteristics? Do you believe that you can become like your Heavenly Father? Do you believe you can have Eternal Life, which is God’s Life?
My Testimony is that WE CAN!
God has revealed the Truths of Salvation and Exaltation. Each of us must come to learn of these Truths through serious daily study, not just reading, of Scriptures and words of the Prophets today. Just academic study is not sufficient. Many of us do not even have the academic skills. We must receive the witness of the Holy Ghost of the truthfulness of what God has revealed. We must seek individual witness of the Spirit to KNOW that it is true. When I was in Fiji, I taught many who gained a Testimony through intellectual study followed by the witness of The Spirit. Others felt the Witness of the Spirit as they heard the Gospel Message and became true and valiant followers of Christ. We each must receive our personal witness of The Truth after all is said and done.
Once we come to know the Truth, we must enter into the Covenants of Salvation and Exaltation. The Covenants of Baptism open the doors of Salvation, and Temple Covenants are the doorway to Exaltation. We are saved and exalted only after we live the covenants we make.
What are the Covenants of Baptism? WE PROMISE…
1. To take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ
2. To keep God’s commandments
3. To serve God till the end
In return, GOD PROMISES…
1. Constant Companionship of the Holy Ghost (as long as we are worthy)
2. Remission of our sins
3. Being Spiritually reborn
We renew these covenants each time we partake of the Sacrament. We commit to be more obedient each week and progress on the Covenant Path. We repent of the sins of the past week. We do not repent of the same sins repeatedly. We move forward until we have overcome every sin we struggle with. We become “perfected” in Christ and through Christ. Our weaknesses become our strengths through the Power of the Atonement of Christ.
In the scriptures, we see that the Lord declares:
“And He will take upon Him death, that He may loose the bands of death which bind His people; and He will take upon Him their infirmities, that His bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that He may know according to the flesh how to succor His people according to their infirmities.”1
In the Temple, we make Five Covenants that lead to Celestial Life:
- Law of Obedience
- Law of Sacrifice
- Law of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
- Law of Chastity
- Law of Consecration
The most powerful Truth is that “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” 2 Our Youth declare this as their Theme for 2023. The beauty of Christ’s Atonement is that not only did He take our sins upon Himself so that we can be free of sin, but as the above scriptures declare, Christ Empowers us to deal with our “infirmities” or challenges so that we may grow and BECOME like Him! This Empowerment begins when we submit our will to God – “Not My Will, But Thine Be Done”! This is the ultimate “Sanctification” that leads to Eternal Life!
“Sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God” 3
“Choose Ye This Day'! Choose Salvation! Choose Exaltation! “Think Celestial'4, President Nelson declared. Choose to submit your will to our Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ and BECOME LIKE THEM! All this requires Integrity!
1 Alma 7:12
2 Philippians 4:13
3 Helaman 3:35
4 President Russell M. Nelson, “Think Celestial”, General Conference October 2023