This life and our existence here can be a mystery. Who are we? Where did we come from before this life? Why are we here? Where are we going after this life? Is there an afterlife? For me, the mystery clears as I draw nearer to our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. I believe we are all spirit children of a living God (our Heavenly Father) and we lived with Him before our birth. He is the Father of our Spirits; we are of divine heritage. I believe God is perfect in all things, including Perfect in Love, Perfect in Justice and Perfect in Mercy. I believe Jesus Christ is His Literal Son, the only begotten of the Father in the flesh, and He is like His Father in every way. In our pre-existence, we loved God, and He loved us (and still does). As His children, we desired to be like Him. Because of His great love for us, He has a long term plan for each of His children (Pearl of Great Price, Moses 1:39) to eventually be resurrected and become like Him and His Beloved Son (Matthew 5:48 and John 17:2-3). His plan includes our being born into this life to gain a physical body, to gain earthly experience, to learn of Him, to turn unto Him and obey His voice, and to prepare in all things to come unto Him again as resurrected beings.
In our pre-mortal spiritual existence, we enjoyed the presence of God the Father and His Son. We knew them both, and loved them; …and, our spirits were pure and innocent before them. By our birth to earthly parents, our spirits united with our earthly (mortal) bodies and we became “Souls” (D&C 88:15). However, in this life, because of the Fall of Adam (which brought temporal and spiritual death upon all mankind), because of our individual transgressions, and because God is a God of Justice, we became separated from His presence (Alma 42:14 and Moses 6:57). But also, because God the Father is merciful, He has provided a way for us to eventually overcome our condition in this life and return to His presence. According to the Father’s “Plan of Salvation,” His beloved Son (Jesus Christ) was sent to the earth to atone for our sins and for Adam’s transgression. Through the atonement, He paid the demands of justice and made it possible for mankind to be redeemed from the Fall (Alma 42:23 and 2 Nephi 2:8). Jesus Christ took upon Himself the sins of the world; He suffered and atoned for our sins; after which, He was crucified and died on the cross. I also believe that on the third day, He overcame physical death through His resurrection and ascension into the presence of the Father (1 Corinthians 15:55).
Because Christ overcame physical death (through the resurrection), all mankind will be resurrected and will stand before Him to be judged. Also, because of the atonement and His Grace, and by our living a life of Faith in Him, we can also be saved from spiritual death (spiritual separation from God the Father). Like His Father, Jesus Christ is merciful and loving, but He is also a God of justice. So, while His atonement has paid the demands of justice, there is much required of us to qualify for His mercy. For our part, the Lord exhorts us to live our lives so that we can “stand spotless before [Him] at the last day” (3 Nephi 27:20). By nature, we are all unworthy (to some degree) of His forgiveness and mercy. But, we can draw near to Him and receive of His mercy if we exercise Faith in Him, repent honestly of our sins, are baptized by an authorized servant of the Lord (3 Nephi 11:21-22), receive the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, and continue in a life of righteousness (see Moses 6:51-62 and 2 Nephi 31:17-21).
Essentially, we will be judged according to the desires of our hearts, our faithfulness, and obedience in keeping His commandments and honoring our covenants, and our continuing or “enduring” in good works. This is “the Gospel Plan of Salvation” …or, in other words, “The Plan of Happiness.” By following this plan, we can receive forgiveness and qualify for “Eternal Life” with God the Eternal Father and His Son Jesus Christ (Doctrine & Covenants 14:7). “Eternal Life” is the life enjoyed by God the Eternal Father, our Father in Heaven. My sincere daily prayer is that I and all my family will stand spotless before the Lord at the last day. For in the Lord’s Eternal Plan, families are meant to be together forever.
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