Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Christ Redeems All but Sons of Perdition


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).

Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Redeemer, the Great I AM, whose arm of mercy hath atoned for your sins (D&C 29:1).

Thus saith the Lord your God, even Jesus Christ, the Great I AM, Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the same which looked upon the wide expanse of eternity, and all the seraphic hosts of heaven, before the world was made; the same which knoweth all things, for all things are present before mine eyes; I am the same which spake and the world was made, and all things came by me (D&C 38:1-3).

Hearken and listen to the voice of him who is from all eternity to all eternity, the Great I AM, even Jesus Christ – the light and the life of the world; a light which shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not (D&C 39:1-2).

Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world (D&C 43:34).

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that believeth on me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst (John 6:35).

I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6).

All mankind were in a lost and in a fallen state, and ever would be save they should rely on this Redeemer (1 Nephi 10:6).

For were it not for the redemption which he hath made for his people, which was prepared from the foundation of the world, I say unto you, were it not for this, all mankind must have perished (Mosiah 15:19).

And The Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters; and thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God (Mosiah 27:25-26).

He has all power to save every man that believeth on his name and bringeth forth fruit meet for repentance (Alma 12:15).

. . . he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins (Alma 11:37).

And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God. And if they will not repent and believe in his name, and be baptized in his name, and endure to the end, they must be damned; for the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has spoken it. . . For the atonement satisfieth the demands of his justice upon all those who have not the law given to them, that they are delivered from that awful monster, death and hell, and the devil, and the lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment; and they are restored to that God who gave them breath, which is the Holy One of Israel (2 Nephi 9:23-24; 26).

. . .there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent (Mosiah 3:17).

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 (D&C 29:43-44).

For behold my blood will not cleanse them if they hear me not (D&C 29:17).

These are they who shall go away into the lake of fire and brimstone, with the devil and his angels – And the only ones on whom the second death shall have any power. Yea, verily, the only ones who shall not be redeemed in the due time of the Lord, after the sufferings of his wrath. For all the rest shall be brought forth... through the triumph and glory of the Lamb (D&C 76:36-39).

That through him all might be saved who the Father had put into his power and made by him; who glorifies the Father, and saves all the works of his hands except those sons of perdition who deny the Son after the Father has revealed him. Wherefore, he saves all except them (D&C 76:42-44).

. . . in the beginning of the seventh thousand years will the Lord God sanctify the earth, and complete the salvation of man, and judge all things, and shall redeem all things, except that which he hath not put into his power [sons of perdition], when he shall have sealed all things, unto the end of all things. . . (D&C 77:12).

. . . only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption (Alma 34:16).

For behold, if ye have [not] procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold ye have become subjected to the spirit of the [Lord], and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath [filled you], and hath. . . place in you; and this is the final state of the [righteous] (Alma 34:35). (See original verse, and compare with this rendering where the meaning is unaltered).

Thus was the gospel preached to those who had died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets. These were taught faith in God, repentance from sin, vicarious baptism for the remissions of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, and all other principles of the gospel that were necessary for them to know in order to qualify themselves (D&C 138:32-34).

The spirits who repent will be redeemed through obedience to the ordinances of the house of God (D&C 138:58).

. . .this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end (2 Nephi 31:21).

And after they have paid the penalty of their transgressions, and are washed clean, shall receive a reward according to their works, for they are heirs of salvation (D&C 138:59).

These all shall bow the knee, and every tongue shall confess to him who sits upon the throne forever and ever (D&C 76:110).

Wherefore, let no man glory in man, but rather let him glory in God, who shall subdue all enemies under his feet (D&C 76:61).

. . .I have trodden the wine-press alone, and have brought judgment upon all people. . . And now the year of my redeemed is come; and they shall mention the loving kindness of their Lord, and all that he has bestowed upon them according to his goodness, and according to his loving kindness, forever and ever (D&C 133:50; 52).

And none of them that my Father hath given me shall be lost (D&C 50:42).

While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled (John 17:12).

Verily I say unto you, blessed are you for receiving mine everlasting covenant, even the fulness of my gospel, sent forth unto the children of men, that they might have life and be made partakers of the glories (D&C 66:2).

Having examined some scriptural passages, now let me offer some brief commentary on the meaning of words. I have noticed in recent years particularly that words are gradually using their true meaning through the abuse of the applications they are put to. Remember President Clinton's classic, "Well that depends on what the meaning of the word is is?"

When it comes to being redeemed for example, do we know what that means? Let us consider the meaning of the word. The best way to define a word in the gospel context is to find passages of scripture where the Lord Himself defines the word under consideration. The worst thing we can say when commenting and trying to define a doctrine in a class is "I think." It doesn't really matter what anyone thinks compared to a true scriptural definition.

We all know (at least I think we all know it) that the ultimate form of redemption is salvation or exaltation in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom. Throughout his discourses to the priests in the court of wicked King Noah in The Book of Mormon, Abinadi consistently taught that Christ has redeemed us in that he has "granted salvation unto his people" (Mosiah 15:18).

At the same time, he stated that such redemption was conditional: "The Lord redeemeth none such that rebel against him and die in their sins; . . . that have known the commandments of God, and would not keep them. . . For salvation cometh to none such; for the Lord hath redeemed none such; yea, neither can the Lord redeem such" (Mosiah 15:26-27).

But how does that square with unconditional redemption in the resurrection? We all know resurrection is universal -- that all men and women are redeemed in the sense that the spirit and the body of every mortal will be inseparably joined or reunited in the resurrection. (See D&C 93:33-40). We know that "through the redemption which is made for [us] is brought to pass the resurrection from the dead. And the spirit and the body are the soul of man. And the resurrection from the dead is the redemption of the soul. And the redemption of the soul is through him that quickeneth all things" (D&C 88:14-17).

Moroni testified that God had "created Adam, and by Adam came the fall of man. And because of the fall of man came Jesus Christ, even the Father and the Son; and because of Jesus Christ came the redemption of man. And because of the redemption of man, which came by Jesus Christ, they are brought back into the presence of the Lord."

Moroni renders a very broad definition of redemption, one in which all men and women have part: "Yea, this is wherein all men are redeemed, because the death of Christ bringeth to pass the resurrection, which bringeth to pass a redemption from an endless sleep, from which sleep all men shall be awakened by the power of God when the trump shall sound; . . . and all shall stand before his bar, being redeemed and loosed from this eternal band of death, which death is a temporal death" (Mormon 9:12-13; see also Helaman 14:17).

Further, the sons of perdition are "the only ones who shall not be redeemed in the due time of the Lord, after the sufferings of his wrath" (D&C 76:38), meaning they are the only ones who shall be resurrected but not redeemed unto a kingdom of glory. It is imperative that we note here that everyone else will be redeemed in a kingdom of glory.

Can we be redeemed in this life? If we repent of our sins, forgiveness of sin by God here and now in this life involves redemption from sin. Christ redeems us in this life from sin by virtue of His atoning blood. That blessing comes to us ultimately in the cleansing mission of the Holy Ghost as we experience a mighty change of heart and as we receive sacred ordinances (see Mosiah 5:2, 8; Alma 5:21; 9:27).

Just before he died father Lehi exclaimed with certainty: "The Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love" (2 Nephi 1:15). Simply put, Lehi experienced what we all may experience if we repent. He had been forgiven of his sins, had managed to put off the natural man and put on Christ, and had come to know the sanctifying power of the atonement. He clearly states that he knew he had been redeemed while yet in this life.

Lehi explained to Jacob that Christ came to "redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil" (2 Nephi 2:26).

Because of the perfect faith of the brother of Jared, he was redeemed from the Fall and brought back into the presence of Jehovah (see Ether 3:13).

After three days of darkness and anguish of soul, Alma the Younger declared, "I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit" (Mosiah 27:24).

When men and women are born again, when they are changed from their carnal and fallen state to a state of righteousness, when they come alive in Christ through His atonement and are quickened spiritually, they are redeemed of the Lord, here, in this life. That redemption extends particularly to those who "die without law" (see Moroni 8:22).

On the other hand, Amulek observed: "And [Christ] shall come into the world to redeem his people; and he shall take upon him the transgressions of those who believe on his name; and these are they that shall have eternal life, and salvation cometh to none else. Therefore the wicked remain as though there had been no redemption made, except it be the loosing of the bands of death" (Alma 11:40-41).

Consistently, Mormon warned faith must be sufficient among the people to call down the signs and wonders of heaven, and if faith was lacking "they are as though there had been no redemption made" (Moroni 7:38).

The key to the definition of redemption, meaning salvation and exaltation in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom, is repentance. Some folks are confused about salvation being the equivalent of exaltation, but the Lord defines His own terms: "If thou wilt do good, yea, and hold out faithful to the end, thou shalt be saved in the kingdom of God, which is the greatest of all the gifts of God; for there is no gift greater than the gift of salvation." (D&C 6:13).

". . . only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption" (Alma 34:16; see also 42:13). The Savior cannot redeem his people in their sins, only from them (see Alma 11:34-37; Helaman 5:9-10).

Here's a valuable insight from Brigham Young to sustain you and give you a perspective on what it means to live in a "redeemed state" every day of your mortal probation:

I do not recollect that I have seen five minutes since I was baptized that I have not been ready to preach a funeral sermon, lay hands on the sick, or to pray in private or in public. I will tell you the secret of this. In all your business transactions, words, and communications, if you commit an overt act, repent of that immediately, and call upon God to deliver you from evil and give you the light of His Spirit. . . If I commit an overt act, the Lord knows the integrity of my heart, and, through sincere repentance, He forgives me. (Journal of Discourses 12:103; emphasis mine).

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