Wednesday, February 24, 2016

2 Nephi 2:8-10 -- On God Judging Us Happy

"Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.
Wherefore, he is the firstfruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved.
And because of the intercession for all, all men come unto God; wherefore, they stand in the presence of him, to be judged of him according to the truth and holiness which is in him. Wherefore, the ends of the law which the Holy One hath given, unto the inflicting of the punishment which is affixed, which punishment that is affixed is in opposition to that of the happiness which is affixed, to answer the ends of the atonement—"
2 Nephi 2:8-10

This is a good reminder of the importance of the atonement... that without the Messiah, we would be forever separated from God.  And that is the definition of spiritual death... permanent separation from God.  I think sometimes we don't realize how immensely, unimaginably horrible that would be.  We often push God to the back of our minds or take it for granted that the spirit will be there when we get around to praying... we unfortunately treat our relationship with God lightly, not really worried that it will be gone or out of reach.  And on one hand, it is good that we know that the Lord is always reaching out for us, but on the other, the more we forget God, the more we deaden our own spiritual senses and make it more and more possible that we will forget, or block the spirit, and walk away entirely.

It is more than abundantly clear to anyone who has the spirit that life with God is much better than life without.  Trying to stumble through alone is frightening and lonely, and we realize how small and weak we are trying to face the world.  God gives us grace and confidence and hope.  We know that we can do better, and learn, and that navigating and mastering all of the things in front of us is possible, with patience and faith.  Without the spirit, we start to forget, and it is far too easy to lose ourselves in misery or hopelessness.

The part where God judges us "according to the truth and holiness which is in him" is cool... although it is good that Christ makes intercession for us there as well, because none of us would be able to stand up to that measure--being compared to the truth and holiness of God.  We're learning, but we are a long way from there.  I also think that the opposites being stated as punishment and happiness are interesting.  Is punishment sadness and happiness reward, as the more traditional opposites, or something else?

After this verse the chapter goes on to explain why there has to be opposition in all things, but this part seems interesting because of the whole "men are, that they might have joy" (2 Nephi 2:25) thing.  When we are judged, do we receive happiness, or was it a product of what we were doing all along, as Mormon 9:14 ("he that is happy shall be happy still; and he that is unhappy shall be unhappy still") seems to suggest?  I really like the idea of everything leading to happiness... the happy ending that I refer to often.  But that also means that we need to work hard for that happy ending as well.  All of life was designed to get us there... we have to work through these in between chapters, conquer the dragons, save the town, endure the betrayal, rescue the princess, and perhaps unfortunately all of the non-dramatic parts too. :)  We have to find our way through the plot so that when we stand before God in all of his holy shininess, that we will be ready for what he has to offer.  Today, let's build that relationship with God, so we can stick with him through all of the ups and downs and plot twists to reach the happy ending.

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