Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

What Is God’s Plan for the Redemption of His Children?

            The Come, Follow Me lesson for this week covered more of Alma’s great teachings to his son, Corianton. In all his teachings, Alma showed his love for Corianton by often saying, “my son” and “I perceive” that you are troubled about….” In Alma 42, Alma teaches Corianton about Heavenly Father’s plan of redemption for His children.

            Alma begins by reminding Corianton that Adam and Eve were put out of the Garden of Eden after they partook of the forbidden fruit. One result of eating the fruit was knowledge because the fruit came from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. When Adam and Eve partook of the fruit, their eyes were opened, and they had the ability to see the difference between good and evil.

Another result of eating the fruit was death. However, Adam and Eve could have avoided death if they had eaten of the fruit of the Tree of Life. Heavenly Father did not want Adam and Eve to live forever as disobedient mortals. He knew that they would have to die before they could return to spend eternity with Him. Therefore, God placed “cherubim and the flaming sword” to guard the Tree of Life (Alma 42:3). This simple but important act provided a “probationary time, a time to repent and serve God” (Alma 42:4). The eating of the fruit was a necessary step in the Father’s plan of redemption.

The Father’s plan included preparing a place for His children to go where they could gain knowledge and experience – sort of like a university. The Father planned for Adam and Eve to

Prepare physical bodies on earth for God’s spirit children. Here the children would gain knowledge and experience as well as make mistakes  .

            Alma discusses the Father’s plan and gives the one plan several different names. He calls it the “plan of salvation” (Alma 42:5), “plan of happiness” (Alma 42:8, 16), “plan of redemption” (Alma 42:11, 13), and “plan of mercy” (Alma 42:15, 31). All the names are appropriate. The plan encompasses the entirety of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which includes everything that is needed for the salvation of man – thus the plan of salvation. Men and women can have great happiness through following the plan – thus the plan of happiness. The plan calls for the Atonement of Jesus Christ, which makes it possible for all mankind to be redeemed from death and sin – thus the plan of redemption. The plan shows that Heavenly Father knows that no person who lives on the earth is perfect, except Jesus Christ. It proves how loving and merciful the Father is to all sinners – thus the plan of mercy.

            Heavenly Father knows that repentance takes time and that it is not easy for mortals to change. This is the reason why He gave us a probationary time to repent and learn to be obedient. (See Alma 42:4.) This probationary time is called mortality. Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint gave the following explanation about our time on earth.

The main purpose of earth life is to allow our spirits, which existed before the world was, to be united with our bodies for a time of great opportunity in mortality. The association of the two together has given us the privilege of growing, developing, and maturing as only we can with spirit and body united. Without our bodies, we pass through a certain amount of trial in what is termed a probationary state of our existence. This is a time of learning and testing to prove ourselves worthy of eternal opportunities. It is all part of a divine plan our Father has for His children (Ensign, May 1989, 13-14).

            Elder Perry gave us some interesting information about our time of probation. He said that we need a period of time when our body and spirit are united to learn things that we can learn in no other way. While serving as a member of the Seventy, Elder Ronald E. Poelman added that mortality is a time to learn of opposites and to choose between them.

The plan of salvation presented to and accepted by us in our premortal state includes a probationary period on earth, during which we experience opposites, make choices, learn the consequences thereof, and prepare to return to the presence of God. Experiencing adversity is an essential part of the process. Knowing this, we elected to come into mortality (Ensign, May 1989, 23).

            Elder Poelman reminded us that we knew what was involved in the plan of salvation before we came to earth, and we still chose to come. Elder William R. Bradford of the Seventy concluded that the purpose of our live on earth is to become like Heavenly Father.

This life is a probationary period. It is a marvelous gift of time during which we can learn to be like our Heavenly Father by following the teachings of His Son, Jesus Christ. The path He leads us on is not a cluttered path. It is simple and straight and lighted by the Spirit (Ensign, May 1992).

            From Elder Bradford, we learn that the Father gave us more than just time to prove ourselves. He gave us His Only Begotten Son, even Jesus the Christ, who came to earth to lead us back to the presence of the Father. The Father knew that His Son would suffer as only a God could suffer before He died as a mortal. Through the sacrifice of both the Father and the Son, an atonement was made. The price for our sins was paid by Christ, and He only requires that we repent of our sins and follow Him.

            The Apostle John wrote, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).

            The words “the world” includes all God’s children who have been born on earth from the Creation to the end of time. God loves all His children no matter where they live or what they look like. He gave us His Son to our Savior, our Exemplar, and our Redeemer. Heavenly Father’s plan for the happiness of His children is perfect, and I am grateful for it.

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