This past week I was studying 3 Nephi chapters 12-17 in the Book of Mormon and I came across the verses where Jesus explains to the people that they are his other sheep but there are yet more that He will visit as well. This passage is familiar to me and I always enjoy reading the account of Jesus visiting the people of the Book of Mormon. Well, this time in reading these chapters, I was impressed by a passage that in the past had not held much meaning for me. This passage is chapter 15 verses 18 and 19 as follows:
18 And now, because of stiffneckedness and unbelief they understood not my word; therefore I was commanded to say no more of the Father concerning this thing unto them.
19 But, verily, I say unto you that the Father hath commanded me, and I tell it unto you, that ye were separated from among them because of their iniquity; therefore it is because of their iniquity that they know not of you.
I was struck with such power with an understanding of how it is that further light is given or withheld from us depending on our ability and willingness to change our lives to accommodate the new light and knowledge. You see, the people in Jerusalem were not willing to learn more from the Savior. Because of this, He was commanded to “say no more” to them.
So, how does this relate to us? Well, as we learn we are required by the Lord to align our behaviors with the new light and knowledge. If we do not then that will be the end of our ability to receive more from Him. Now, this may sound a bit harsh or strict but it really is our Heavenly Father showing compassion on us. You see, if we learn something we are then accountable for adhering to the new understanding. If we are not willing or even capable of living according to the additional knowledge then it would be condemning us to provide even more light and knowledge.
Our Heavenly Father does not want us to gain only an intellectual knowledge of gospel principles but He wants us to gain the knowledge and understanding that only comes from living according to the principles. It is only in this way we can come to know Him and as He has told us, “this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” John 17:3