3 Nephi 12:46-48
46 Therefore those things which were of old time, which were under the law, in me are all fulfilled.
47 Old things are done away, and all things have become new.
48 Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.
The old law that the Savior fulfilled was based on obedience in performances. That is, the Law was a catalog of things one must do and things one must not do. The new law eliminated almost all of the regulations and focused on personal integrity. Under the new law, is not conforming to cultural norms. Rather, obedience is a natural byproduct of knowing the doctrine.
A quick review of what the Savior had taught, beginning with what he said when he first spoke to the Nephites when they were enshrouded in darkness and continuing to this point in his sermon, leaves us amazed at the simplicity, forthrightness, and clarity of the new law. The Savior had given step by step instructions about how the could begin to fulfill his command that they become perfect: (If the following quick review of the of the principles taught by the Savior seems to ask more questions than it answers, you will find a careful discussion of each verse in my posts of the past weeks.)
The Savior’s words in 3 Nephi began with a lament for the destruction that had come upon those whose had not obeyed (3 Nephi 9:1-13), and he commends those who have obeyed (3 Nephi 9:14-18).
He instructed them about changes in the law of sacrifice (3 Nephi 9:19-22).
He fulfilled the promise that he would come to the earth, fulfill the law of Moses and bring the fullness of the gospel (3 Nephi 11:7-12).
They touched his side, his hands, and his feet as a testimony of the power of his love and the reality of the Atonement (3 Nephi 11:13-18).
He established his church, and gave Twelve authority over it (3 Nephi 11:18-41).
In the Beatitudes, he reviewed all of the principles and ordinances that are requisite to eternal life.
3 Nephi 12:1 — “Give heed to the words of the Twelve”
3 Nephi 12:2 — First principles (be visited by the Holy Ghost)
3 Nephi 12:3 — Endowment for the living
3 Nephi 12:4 — Endowment for the dead
3 Nephi 12:5 — Keep the covenants you made at the Council in Heaven
3 Nephi 12:6 — Hunger and thirst after priesthood and temple things and be filled with the Holy Ghost
3 Nephi 12:7 — How to be a priest and sacral king – merciful shall receive mercy
3 Nephi 12:8 — Zion (pure in heart) shall see God
3 Nephi 12:9 — Peacemakers called “children of God”
3 Nephi 12:10-12 — Persecution follows
3 Nephi 12:13 — Missionary work
3 Nephi 12:14-16 — A light — menorah among the people in the temple
The law of the gospel (3 Nephi 12:21-24)
Chastity (3 Nephi 12:27-32)
Truth in keeping covenants (3 Nephi 12:33-37)
All that is preliminary to the Savior’s next instruction which was how to live the law of consecration.
The perfection the Savior was asking the Nephites to achieve was not about meeting a universal standard of obedience, but rather it was about each individual’s being absolutely true to the eternal law of his own being.