Tuesday, April 25, 2017

D&C 29:43-44 -- On Choosing a Better Eternity

"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;"
Doctrine and Covenants 29:43-44

These verses talk about eternal damnation, which is a super scary thing, but I don't think the point of them is to frighten us--only to explain how it works, and perhaps motivate us to repent.

God gave us agency, allowing us to choose what we want to be, to become, and eventually, to choose how we want to live for eternity.  God set up a plan which required incredible sacrifice on his part in order to save us from the pain and guilt and suffering that would definitely come along with agency and the inevitable sin and mistakes and inequity that we create with it.  So, that is what the probation is... our lives.  This time that we have to "work out [our] salvation" (Alma 34:37).  And, during our lives we have space where immediate eternal consequences don't happen... they get put off until death, giving us a chance to fix what we've broken and to heal where we have hurt.  And if we do, then our mistakes are basically gone.  Christ suffered for them, and he takes away the consequences if we repent.

If we don't repent, that's where we get into super scary... but I think it is more of a being scared of ourselves thing, because damnation is also a choice.  The idea here is that *we* are choosing eternal separation from God by rejecting him here and now.  We have the truth before us, and we often choose to ignore it, or try to overlay it with our own "truth."  In that, we can't be redeemed from a spiritual fall, because we *choose* the fall.  We choose to listen to Satan rather than God, and those are the natural consequences.

The cool thing about all of this is that Judgment Day isn't some report card or checklist where we tally up the good things and the bad things and determine whether we did well enough on enlarging our talents to really merit heaven... and end up 3% shy with no extra credit.  Instead, it is who we have become.  That really bad mistake we made 10 years ago doesn't matter at all if we are *now* someone who would not make the same choices.  God gives us that chance to reinvent ourselves, and to change into the people that we want to be rather than the people that we are ashamed of and a little bit afraid of.  Today, let's work on changing who we are--on receiving that "mighty change" of heart (Alma 5:12-14; Mosiah 5:2) that God promises us if we pray to him in faith.  Let's become the people that we want to be, and choose a better eternity.

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