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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Talk - Plan of Salvation



Many people wonder, “Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going?” I have been asked to talk today about the plan of salvation which gives us the answers to these questions.

So first I’d like to talk about the question “Where did we come from?”
God is our Father, and He loves us. We are His children. We are part of His family, and we lived with Him before we were born on this earth. Our heavenly parents provided us with a happy and celestial home in the pre-existence.  We don’t remember this pre-earth life.
The second question I’d like to talk about is “Why are we here?”  This one requires a longer explanation.
Our heavenly parents knew that we could not progress beyond a certain point unless we left them for a while.  God presented us with a plan. In order to become more like Heavenly Father each of us had to have a physical body and gain earthly experience.  We needed to be tested during a time of probation on earth.  We needed to learn how to choose good over evil on our own.  His plan of salvation makes it possible for us to return to His presence after this life and for us to become more like Him.

We also learned that because of our weaknesses we would all sin. Also, our physical bodies would die someday.  We learned that a Savior would be provided to make it possible for each of us to live again after death and to be cleansed from sin.  Jesus Christ is central to God’s plan.  Satan is an enemy to God’s plan.
Agency, or the ability to choose, is one of God’s greatest gifts to His children. Our eternal progression depends on how we use this gift. We must choose whether to follow Jesus Christ or follow Satan.  Satan doesn’t want us to use our agency wisely.
Under the direction of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ created this earth.  The Fall of Adam made it possible for us to come to earth, gain a physical body, have earthly experiences, and have families of our own. But the Fall also brought physical death, which is separation of the spirit from the body, and spiritual death, which is separation from God.
We will all suffer physical death, but Jesus Christ overcame that obstacle for us. When He died on the cross, His spirit became separated from His body. On the third day, His spirit and His body were reunited eternally.  The reuniting of body and spirit is called resurrection and is a gift promised to each of us no matter if we have done good or evil in our lives. The resurrection makes it possible to return to God’s presence to be judged but does not guarantee that we will be able to live in His presence. To receive that blessing, we must also be cleansed from sin.
Along with physical death, sin is a major obstacle that keeps us from becoming like our Father in Heaven and returning to His presence. During our life on earth each of us makes mistakes. Because of our sins, we are unable to return to live with Heavenly Father unless we are first forgiven and cleansed. To fulfill the plan of salvation, Christ paid the penalty for our sins. He was sinless and completely obedient to His Father.  
Christ promises to forgive our sins but we have some personal responsibility too.  We need to accept our Savior by exercising faith in Him, repenting, being baptized and confirmed, and striving faithfully to keep His commandments for our entire lives. Through daily repentance, we may be forgiven and be cleansed of our sins. We can get rid of our guilt and shame, and through Jesus Christ we can become worthy to return to the presence of God. 

The last question I’d like to talk about is “Where are we going?”
We will all suffer a physical death. Our spirits will be separated from our bodies and will live in the spirit world for a while. In the spirit world the gospel is preached to those who did not obey the gospel or did not have the opportunity to hear it while on earth. We remain in the spirit world until we are resurrected.
We will then be resurrected with an immortal body, an eternal union of our body and spirit. Immortality is a free gift to all people, whether they are righteous or wicked. We will be judged according to our works and desires.  Those who have lived the gospel will receive our Father in Heaven’s greatest gift, the gift of eternal life with Him.
In closing, I’d like to bear my testimony that I know Jesus suffered and died for us because of His love for us.  I am grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
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A special thank you to Scott for sharing his talk with us.  Also, if you like the cool Plan of Salvation graphic, I got it HERE.

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