Thursday, May 15, 2014

Doctrine and Covenants 29:43-45 -- On Choosing the Light

"And thus did I, the Lord God, appoint unto man the days of his probation—that by his natural death he might be raised in immortality unto eternal life, even as many as would believe;
And they that believe not unto eternal damnation; for they cannot be redeemed from their spiritual fall, because they repent not;
For they love darkness rather than light, and their deeds are evil, and they receive their wages of whom they list to obey."
Doctrine and Covenants 29:43-45

This section of the Doctrine and Covenants talks about a lot of things, including the Second Coming, the time leading up to it, the Millennium, and after the Millennium the final judgement.  Here, he is referring to what he just said about Adam, and how he sent angels to him so that there was a way to overcome the sin and the separation from God that Adam experienced, and that we all experience.  He prepared a way that we could come here, gain bodies, and learn, overcoming our mistakes and sins, and still being able to return to God.  He gave us hope.  ... And then in the second verse of the selection it gets a little darker.  Eternal damnation... probably no one wants that, or even really to think about it.  I'm sure it is bad enough, even if Dante's depiction is inaccurate.  So, it seems a little bit like going from hope to depression... and I do think that it is sad that this will happen to anyone.  But when it says "because they repent not," I think it shows us where the hope still is.  Our hope it in repentance.  In verse 17, earlier in this same section, it says "my blood shall not cleanse them if they hear me not."  ... It isn't God deciding in that moment, well you guys are slugs; you can burn.  It is the plan, and has been the plan for the entire history of the earth.  It is the way the atonement works.  It only has power when we choose to repent.  If someone doesn't want to change or repent, then it can't release that person from the consequence of sin. We have to choose to accept the gift, and apply it to our lives.  Otherwise, we'll only get the "wages" of sin and Satan... which, again, I don't think anyone really wants to think about.
Ezra Taft Benson said "Nothing is going to startle us more when we pass through the veil to the other side than to realize how well we know our Father and how familiar His face is to us" (link to talk).  We *know* God, although we can't remember it well because of the veil.  And he knows us, and he *does* remember.  He loves us, and he wants us to return to him.  Today, let's take advantage of the gift and hope of the atonement.  Let's repent.  Let's change.  Let's serve God rather than Satan (and not pretend that we can choose some imaginary third option or sit on the fence).  Let's love and choose the light rather than the darkness... heaven over hell.  And today, let's remember that we have to do something about it.  Repentance and salvation are not passive choices.

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