Thursday, December 31, 2009

Jesus Christ

But whom say ye that I am?... Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. Matt 16:15-16

This is what Latter-Day Saints believe. When we say that Jesus is the Son of God, we mean exactly that. Jesus is the eldest son of our Heavenly Father, who, as Peter declared, is a living being. Christ declared this simple truth often in the New Testament: "Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee... And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." John 17:1,3 "I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." John 20:17 Christ knows that He is the Son of God, He knows that He has a real Father. This tender relationship is obvious to me whenever Christ addresses His father in the scriptures. His expressions are so clear and straightforward. I trust that He means exactly what he says. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the Only Begotten, in the flesh, of our Heavenly Father.

Heavenly Father's Plan

Before this earth was created, our Heavenly Father presented to us His plan whereby we could become like God and live with Him forever. This plan required that we come to earth, receive a body which is fashioned in the image of God's body Gen 1:27 and exercise our free will in learning to choose that which is good. Our Father knew that, although these experiences were necessary for our eternal progression, we would make mistakes that would separate us from Him, for no unclean thing can dwell in God's presence. Knowing this, He provided a Savior for us so that all who were willing, could be saved in the kingdom of God. "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

We Followed Jesus

Every person on this earth is a spirit child of Heavenly Parents and lived with them before we came to earth. Our Heavenly Father's firstborn son, our eldest brother, Jesus Christ, who created this earth under the direction of His Father Heb. 1:2, was chosen to be our Savior. One third of our brothers and sisters rejected our Heavenly Father's plan and the appointment of Jesus Christ as our Savior. There was a war in heaven among the spirit children of God, not a battle of swords, but a struggle for the hearts of men. All who accepted God's plan fought against Lucifer and his followers. "And the great dragon was cast out... into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ...and they overcame [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them." Rev 12:7-11

We were there! We joined in the rejoicing when the "morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy." Job 38:7 Everyone who is alive on this earth once chose to accept Christ. Because we followed Jesus there, we gained the privilege of coming to this earth to fulfill our Heavenly Father's plan for our exaltation.

And so man came to earth and were given instructions by God. Some would strive to obey, others would not, but all would fall short of perfect obedience to God's commands. The conditions of mortality separate us from God. Without a Savior, we could never again dwell the presence of our Heavenly Father.

"For it behooveth the great Creator that he suffereth himself to become subject unto man in the flesh, and die for all men, that all men might become subject unto him. For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfil the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection...For behold, if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God...and we become...angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God...O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape..."2 Ne 9: 5-10

Christ is the one appointed to rescue us. His victory over the grave means that all mankind will be resurrected. His great atoning sacrifice pays the debt to justice for all those who accept His sacrifice and repent of their sins. Because of Christ's sacrifice for us, we are able to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father pure and whole, as He is.

Not only did Christ provide the way for our redemption, he also showed us the path that we must follow in this life in order to have Eternal Life. All that He asks us to do as disciples He exemplified for us. As we humbly and willingly follow His example of pure love, of obedience, of sacrifice, and righteousness, we become more and more like Him, and more fit for the kingdom of God. Despite all of our effort, however, we are incapable of perfection on our own. It is only through Christ that we can return to the presence of our Heavenly Father.

Jesus was a God in the premortal existence. Our Father in Heaven gave Him a name above all others—the Christ...And so the preexistent God, the God of the whole earth, the Jehovah of the Old Testament, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Lawgiver, the God of Israel, the promised Messiah was born a babe in Bethlehem.

King Benjamin prophesied of Christ’s advent and ministry in this manner:

“For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases.

“And he shall cast out devils, or the evil spirits which dwell in the hearts of the children of men.

“And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.

“And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary” Mosiah 3:5–8.

The Lord testified, “I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me. And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross” 3 Ne. 27:13–14. And so He was.

In Gethsemane and on Calvary, He worked out the infinite and eternal atonement. It was the greatest single act of love in recorded history. Then followed His death and resurrection.

Thus He became our Redeemer—redeeming all of us from physical death, and redeeming those of us from spiritual death who will obey the laws and ordinances of the gospel. Ezra Taft Benson

Since the world began, prophets have testified of Christ, the Apostles in His day bore witness of his divinity and mission, as do the Apostles in our day. I offer my sincere testimony as well, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Savior of the world. I know that we can follow Him with complete confidence and He will lead us safely home.

I am grateful for Jesus Christ, for the great love that He has for us and for the willing sacrifice that He made so that I can live again eternally with Him and with my Heavenly parents. I am so grateful for Jesus' love for me, for His patience and forgiveness, for His perfect example. I know that without His influence, my life would be so very different. I could never have the peace and happiness that I enjoy now without His tender guidance and the assurance that He loves me. I know that Jesus is the Christ, my Savior, my Redeemer, and my Friend.