“But whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” -Luke 14:11
Returning to the topic of Jesus a Christ vs Jesus the Christ, we must ask the question: do we even need Jesus Christ? And if so, why? Why can we not merely “work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12)?
“And Aaron did expound unto him the scriptures from the creation of Adam, laying the fall of man before him, and their carnal state, and also the plan of redemption, which was prepared from the foundation of the world, through Christ, for all whosoever would believe on his name; and since man had fallen, he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atoneth for their sins through faith and repentance, and so forth.” -Alma 13:45-46 RAV, 22:13-14a OPV
Jesus was named Yeshua (or Y’shua, the Hebrew for Jesus) at birth by his mother, Mary, by divine decree (Luke 1:31). This is important because Jesus came into the world to save us from our sins (Matthew 1:21). Yeshua is based on the root ישע, meaning “to deliver; to rescue.” His name tells us that he is HaMashiach “The Anointed One.” The Hebrew, Yeshua HaMashiach, has become in our day “Jesus Christ,” the Greek variant of His name and his title. The fact that His name comes from divine counsel, it clearly has great significance.
Through Israel, the world was promised a savior, a rescuer, a deliverer (Isaiah 53). He was more than a mere human man, being the Word made flesh (Isaiah 52:14, John 1:14). While we come to live the Law, the Torah, Jesus came to fulfill the Torah, and he did (Matthew 5:17; 3 Nephi 7:3-12 RAV, 15:2-10 OPV). This is important to understand, as while we can be rescuers and deliverers, we are not YHVH, Jesus is YHVH. While we can be anointed ones we are not the anointed one. While we can be the light to others, shedding the light of Christ upon them, we are not that light; Jesus is the light (John 8:12, Alma 18:11-12 RAV, 38:9 OPV).
The Light of Christ/The Christ Consciousness
“And thus, ye see the Light of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I, the Lord, might show unto you the way to judge, and behold this is how she was warned.” -Book of Remembrance 9:14-15
The light of Christ, also known as the Christ Consciousness, is divine energy, power, and influence that proceeds from God to us through Jesus Christ. This light gives life and light to all things (Doctrines of the Saints 53b:4-11/DaC 85:2-3 CoC, 88:4-13 CJCLdS). This light governs all things, as it is the eternal Law; and by it the path of teshuvah is lit so that we can see Israel, the straight path to God. As such, this light is an influence from God that prepares us to accept Jesus and receive the Holy Ghost as the influence for all that is good and righteous (Book of Remembrance 8:23-24, Doctrines of the Saints 5c:27-30/DaC 83:7b-7e CoC, 84:45-49 CJCLdS).
The manifestation of the light of Christ is the Christ Consciousness. This light fills us and flows out into the world to repair the creation in tikkun olam. As we flood the earth with this light, those drawn to it may also receive it and are led to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, while those in darkness will not recognize it (Isaiah 52:14, John 1:5). It is by this light that we may know wisdom: right and wrong (Book of Remembrance 9:13-15; Moroni 7:14-15a RAV, 7:16 OPV).
Working Out Our Salvation
While this is a very interesting topic, why is is relevant? Do we actually need this light? After all, Paul did say, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). And Nephi said, “For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Nephi 11:44 RAV, 25:23b OPV). Reading these alone, this can create a very ego-centered idea that we must work out our own salvation, and that we seek Christ last, or “after all we can do.” This lonely idea completely contradicts what Jacob stated on the subject:
“And remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.” -2 Nephi 7:42 RAV, 10:24b OPV
When we put these ideas together we see a different, unified, idea: “For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after we are reconciled unto God; that it is only in and through the grace of God that we are saved.” And this idea is summed up perfectly by Moroni: “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness” (Moroni 10:29a). And this is important because Grace is the power of the Atonement: At+one+ment. How can we become one as the creation of God without God? How can we grow in grace from imperfection to perfection alone on a deserted island? I testify to you that we cannot, and Jacob bears witness of that testimony:
“Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness, that we may know that it is by his grace and his great condescensions unto the children of men that we have power to do these things.” -Jacob 3:8 RAV, 4:7 OPV
While there are numerous reasons as to why we need our Savior, the most important may be because as the creation, we are not alone; we were never meant to be alone (Peter 1:19-21. Revelation 13:8). This idea that we can “go it alone” denies not only the power of the Atonement, but the reason for the creation. How can we share the light of Christ with the world if we reject that light of God, the Christ Consciousness, in a vain attempt to be our own christ? Our own messiah? To be our own gods? This is the very height of egoism, to think we do not need our Savior, that we do not need our Creator.
Self-realization isn’t the end of the journey, it is the very beginning. Once we know that we exist, we understand that we are the creation. Every step we make from there must be to know the Creator: Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. Otherwise, we will be swallowed up in the darkness, unable to see the light of Christ. If we wish to be a christ, a messiah, we must know the Christ: Yeshua HaMashiach, Jesus the Christ. And, as He commanded us: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).
“Yea, we have reason to praise him forever; for he is the most high God and has loosed our brethren from the chains of hell. Yea, they were encircled about with everlasting darkness and destruction; but behold, he has brought them into his everlasting light, yea, into everlasting salvation; and they are encircled about with the matchless bounty of his love; yea, and we have been instruments in his hands of doing this great and marvelous work; therefore, let us glory; yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever.” -Alma 14:94-96 RAV, 26:15-16a OPV