Attaining Perfection on Ascending Spiritual Levels

When Jesus promised his three Beloved Disciples that “ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father” (3 Nephi 28:10), he signified to them in so many words that they would become Saviors of worlds. While on the one hand he informed his Nephite disciples that “the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do” (3 Nephi 27:21), on the other he had made clear to his Jewish disciples that “the Son can do nothing of himself but what he sees the Father do. For whatsoever things he does, these also the Son does likewise” (John 5:19).

Isaiah’s hierarchy of ascending levels on a spiritual ladder helps clarify the idea of ascent to godhood. As no commandment Jesus gives is impossible to keep, his telling his Jewish disciples to “be ye perfect even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48) was intended literally. His later inclusion of himself in that degree of perfection to his Nephite disciples, saying, “I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect” (3 Nephi 12:48), informs us that his atonement for this world’s transgressions was an essential part of attaining his own perfection.

The perfection of which Jesus is speaking is thus relative to the degree of his spiritual ascent that qualified him to atone for this world’s transgressions. When he tells his Jewish disciples, “I cast out devils and do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected” (Luke 13:32), he is alluding to his upcoming atoning death and resurrection. Because our attaining perfection is directly related to our sufferings for Christ’s sake (1 Peter 5:10), so the Father’s will, which Jesus came to fulfill (John 6:38), was “to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (Hebrews 2:10).

—From Becoming Kings and Queens of the GentilesChapter 3, by Avraham Gileadi Ph.D.

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