This is another Post from John. It is good for us to remember this principle.
There is an intriguing formula given in D&C 93 whereby Christ received a “fullness of the glory of the Father” for He “received not of the fullness at first”.
The fullness of the Father was when Christ received “all power, both in heaven and on the earth, and the glory of the Father was with him, for he dwelt in him.” In other words, by receiving a fullness, Christ became perfect and acquired the full power of the Godhead. He became “one” with the Father.
Christ took upon Himself the work and mission of the atonement, and the process of sanctifying Himself in oneness with the Father, so that “we”, those whom the Father gave Him to save, (John 17:24) would likewise have the ability, through the atonement of Christ, to come unto the Father and become sanctified even as Christ was sanctified. Listen to the rest of John 17:
“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou has sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, and that thou hast loved me.” (John 17: 20-23)
John, whom we call the Baptist, explains that Christ received “grace for grace”. We know that this grace was a gift from the Father because Christ “received” it. He didn’t earn it, but qualified for it by acts of grace among His fellow-man.
It works like this; Christ attuned Himself to the voice of the Father so that He truly did nothing except what the Father commanded Him. (John 8: 28-29) When the Father sent Christ to teach, heal or bless, Christ obeyed the Father and thereby dispensed grace to fellow mortals – for which the Father then gave Christ an increased gift of the Father’s grace. Thus, Christ received a little more of the “fullness” of the Father, and became a little more “one” with with Father by each act of grace. In other words, He received grace for grace – the Father’s grace in response to Christ’s grace given to men.
The process is exactly the same for you and I. When we are born we arrive in mortality with a certain set of abilities, gifts and talents. These things constitute our mortal tool chest. Some people are physically strong and able to push a handcart across the plains. Some are born with great love, or the gift of teaching, prophecy, faith to heal, or even music and science. The list of human gifts is vast even though each of us only has a few. These are our mortal gifts which we are able to grant to others as grace. When Christ, through the Holy Spirit, asks us to serve someone by using one of our gifts, then we are giving grace to that person.
So, when we dispense our small grace to another mortal as prompted by Christ’s voice – we bake them cookies, support someone in their struggles, or help someone mow their lawn – then Christ dispenses His grace to us: His eternal grace in exchange for our mortal grace. The difference is that our gifts are cookies, and His are steps to exaltation.
The second step of this grand process is that we grow from “grace to grace”. Just as Jesus Christ “received not of the fullness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fullness;” (D&C 93:13) We are powerless to obtain a fullness on our own. There is no other process of good works, service, ordinances, or church service that will bring us to a fullness. The only pathway to “a fullness” is to obtain continual grace from Christ, so that we grow from “grace to grace”.
It is true that service, good works and ordinances are vital to the process, but they must be done in obedience to the voice of Christ in order to activate this divine law of “grace for grace”. Good things done for lesser motives on our part, or even as selfish accomplishments, are not grace, and do not trigger the divine mainspring of atoning and enabling grace.
Christ grew from one gift of the father’s grace, to another, until He obtained a fullness, and so can we.
And thus we receive grace for grace, and grow from grace to grace, until we obtain a fullness. The key is always the same – Hear His voice, and obey.