The Plan of salvation

In this months Relief Society Lesson we are reminded that “Jesus Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice to save us from the Fall and from our sins.” Here we are taught about Christ’s part in the Plan of Salvation:

“It therefore became necessary for the Father to send his Only Begotten Son, who was free from sin, to atone for our sins as well as for Adam’s transgression, which justice demanded should be done. He accordingly offered himself a sacrifice for sins, and through his death upon the cross took upon himself both Adam’s transgression and our individual sins, thereby redeeming us from the fall, and from our sins, on condition of repentance. (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith
Chapter 3: The Plan of Salvation, p. 62)

This conditional “plan of salvation consists of the following things:”

“First, we must have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; we must accept him as the Son of God; we must put our trust in him, rely upon his word, and desire to gain the blessings which come by obedience to his laws.

Second, we must repent of our sins; we must forsake the world; we must determine in our hearts, without reservation, that we will live godly and upright lives.

Third, we must be baptized in water, under the hands of a legal administrator, who has power to bind on earth and seal in heaven; we must, through this sacred ordinance, enter into a covenant to serve the Lord and keep his commandments.

Fourth, we must receive the gift of the Holy Ghost; we must be born again; we must have sin and iniquity burned out of our souls as though by fire; we must gain a new creation by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Fifth, we must endure to the end; we must keep the commandments after baptism; we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord; we must so live as to acquire the attributes of godliness and become the kind of people who can enjoy the glory and wonders of the celestial kingdom.

Now I testify that these laws which men must obey to gain salvation and which comprise the gospel of Jesus Christ, have been revealed in this day to prophets and apostles, and that they are now administered by his church, which he has again established upon the earth.” (p. 65)

Did you notice all “we must” do? Thankfully, these are the words of false prophets. In contrast, I love the simplicity of God’s true Plan of Salvation as revealed through living prophets and apostles and found in scripture. It was Jesus who revealed this plan to us, and amazingly it’s all about what He has already done for us. The plan of salvations is an accomplished fact! Christ has already been lifted up on the Cross and His blood has covered the sins of the whole world. According to our Lord and Savior, the very moment you believe in Him, you receive eternal life! This is an unconditional gift from Heavenly Father:

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 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. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:1-18)

God gave His Son to be lifted up on the cross because He loved us that much. Christ’s mission was to take away the sins of the world, and He did so. Everything necessary for us to live forever with Heavenly Father has already been accomplished. Read the entire chapter of John three to see all that Jesus taught Nicodemus regarding Gods Plan of Salvation. You will learn that the only “spirit children” of Heavenly Father are people who believe in Jesus. The very moment the Holy Spirit brings a person to faith, that person becomes a child of God, and is born-again through the Holy Ghost:

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

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The “fulness” of the Gospel?

Once again, it was not easy reading the Gospel Doctrine Lesson. The words which were difficult for me: “Brothers and sisters, we have the richest blessings that God can give to His children. We have the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We ought to be the most open, friendly, happy, kind, considerate, thoughtful, loving people in the whole world.

You hear these words and think you have been blessed with the “fulness” of the gospel. In reality, the gospel has been “stripped” of its fulness! You have not received any “blessings” from God because all blessings are predicated upon your obedience to His laws! I have been struggling with how to explain the difference between the “gospel” that you have and the “gospel” that I know. The best way I can come up with is to compare three gospel blessings provided by these two very different gospels.

The blessing of Eternal life:

A loving Heavenly Father has provided Salvation through His Son. All blessings are unconditional gifts given to His children because of His love. Every child rests in the assurance that their Daddy will take care of them in His home where they will live with Him forever. Eternal life is an unconditional gift given to God’s children through faith! Through the gospel of Christ a child of God can know they have eternal life right now (1 John 5:11-13). The LDS gospel took this blessing away and in its place, gives you a Plan” of Salvation. This “plan” exposes that your eternal destination hangs in the balance of your worthiness! It shows your gospel’s “condition” of withholding any blessing which has not been gained through obedience. Before you can live with your Heavenly Father you must first prove that you are worthy to do so. You can’t even know in this life whether you have done enough to be allowed to enter into his presence.

The blessing of having your debt canceled:

Even though I owed a huge debt to my loving Father, through the gospel of Christ He completely “wrote off” this debt as “paid in full”. In place of my debt, He gives me a mansion in heaven where I will dwell with Him eternally! The LDS gospel stripped away the blessing of being “debt free” and instead “refinancedyour debt, making your oldest brother your creditor. You now owe your debt to Jesus. You must pay off this debt by keeping the commandments, one at a time.

The blessing of forgiveness:

Heavenly Father sacrificed His Son to cover over all sins. Through the gospel of Christ I am one hundred percent forgiven! My Father in Heaven forgave every sin I ever committed over 2000 years ago at the cross! There were no conditions attached to this blessing and I received it the moment I believed in it (Acts 10:43). This blessing of unconditional forgiveness given through the gospel of Jesus Christ has been completely taken out of the LDS gospel. When you sin, forgiveness is withheld until you prove your worthiness to receive it—you must first keep God’s commands. In fact, God withholds his forgiveness of you until you completely forgive all others for any wrongs they have done against you, whether they are repentant or not. Your gospel claims that God doesn’t even hold himself to the same standard he demands from his children. The harshest aspect of the LDS gospel is that God revokes your hard-won forgiveness when you repeat a sin you thought you had finally abandoned.

The richest gospel blessings that God gives to His children are forgiveness and eternal life. These gifts are truly gifts! One cannot qualify for them nor can they be earned. They are undeserved blessings offered to all, solely through the gospel of Jesus Christ! Please do not reject this amazing gospel or you will forfeit the richest blessings God has to offer you!