Monday, February 24, 2014

Mormon Monday: Mortality; Part 3 of the Plan of Salvation

Here's the other parts to this discussion.

The fall had two consequences. The first was death of the body or physical death. The second was separation from God or spiritual death. Adam's fall caused all men to experience physical death, but we are not responsible for his sins, and Adam's fall did not cause us to sin. It opened the door so that we could be mortal and make mistakes, but each sin that we do is our own responsibility.

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression. Adam's trangression may have caused death to come into the world, but he didn't make us sin. We are responsible and accountable for the decisions we make in this life. However, every time we sin, we draw further and further away from God. There is no way for us to remove the stains on our souls. Even if we try not to do it again, we are imperfect, and only perfect creatures can enter the presence of the Lord.

So, how then shall we return to our Father in Heaven?

It is through our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

As was planned from the beginning, Christ came into this world. Born of a mortal mother and an immortal father, he was the only one capable of being perfect in this life. His paternal heritage gave him the ability to completely resist temptation and choose not to sin, while his maternal heritage gave him the ability to die a physical death.

Due to this, he was able to come and be the perfect sacrifice. Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. I like to liken this to two scenarios.

You are in a boat and someone pushed you into the water. You can't swim and you begin to drown. Someone jumps in and pulls you out. He would then be your savior. You didn't have to do anything for him to save you, he just did it because he loves you. It wasn't your fault you fell into the water, and so you didn't have to do anything in order for him to save you.

This is likened to physical death. It is due to Adam and Eve's decision that death entered this world, and so, regardless of the choices you make in this life, Christ will save you from physical death. Eventually, everyone who's lived on this earth will be resurrected from physical death. Their bodies will be restored to their spirits, except they will be given perfect bodies, incapable of death. This is how Christ is our Savior.

1 Corinthians 15: 22
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Now the second scenario. You receive a incredible coupon in the mail. If you take it to the store, it will help you to purchase several items that you need for free! However, if you just allow that coupon to sit in a drawer, it won't help you. It is only when you do something yourself and take it to the store that it will save you money. We call this redeeming a coupon.

I compare this to spiritual death. Christ suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross so that we could repent of our sins and become clean again. However, we are required to do somethings in order for this redemption to occur. God has given us an incredible gift, the gift of choice. He will never force anyone to do anything, because we need to learn the difference between good and evil by our own decisions and choose which we will follow. So, in this case, Christ is the Redeemer. If we come to him, and do what He has asked of us, we can be redeemed from our sins. Mosiah 3:7-10 says:

 And lo, he shall asuffer btemptations, and pain of body, chunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can dsuffer, except it be unto death; for behold, eblood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his fanguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people. And he shall be called aJesus bChrist, the cSon of God, thedFather of heaven and earth, the eCreator of all things from the beginning; and his fmother shall be called Mary. And lo, he cometh unto his own, that asalvation might come unto the children of men even through bfaith on his name; and even after all this they shall consider him a man, and say that he hath acdevil, and shall dscourge him, and shall ecrucify him. 10 And he shall arise the bthird day from the dead; and behold, he standeth to cjudge the world; and behold, all these things are done that a righteous judgment might come upon the children of men.
What does Christ ask of us in order that He can judge us to be righteous?

We call this the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It can be stated very simply, as it is in the following Articles of Faith:
We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
 We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second,Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
These ordinances and principles are commandments. They are requirements for eternal life. Christ himself said in John 3:5:
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God
 After you have done these commandments, you must also endure to the end. Faith is not a one-time occurrence, it is something we must have our entire lives. We also need to continually repent. Baptism does occur one time, but by taking the holy sacrament that the Lord instituted, we can continue to renew our covenants and be clean. Finally, after we are baptized, if it is done under the proper authority by one who received the priesthood from the Lord, you will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost from someone of the same authority.

These are incredible promises and commandments. The Lord does require of us to obey these few simple commandments, and as we do, we will have our sins remitted.

Through Christ, the effects of Adam's transgression can be taken away from us and we can become clean enough to enter the presence of the Lord. This mortal life is a time to prepare to meet God. (Alma 34:32)
It does have difficulties, but with the aid of our Savior, we can survive and concur both physical and spiritual death.

I testify that whatever happens, our Savior knows what we are going through and He is there with his arms outstretched waiting for us to come to Him. As we keep the commandments He has given us, and become more like Him, we will be able to enter the presence of our Heavenly Father and return to live with Him again. This life is a place for joy and hope. The Lord wants us to be happy and if we obey and worship Him, we will be filled with incomparable joy!

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