THE PLAN OF SALVATION
WHAT IS MY PURPOSE OF LIFE?
Life on earth is a testing period
during which we prepare to meet God again.
THE CREATION AND THE FALL
The earth was created as a place
for our Heavenly Father's children to live and gain experience. Adam
and Eve were the first of God's children to come to earth. They lived
in a place called the Garden of Eden, where they were still in God's presence.
Father wants all of his children to have the perfect joy he has attained.
To gain that joy, it is necessary for us to come to earth to obtain physical
bodies. Letís understand some of the important reasons for getting
physical body. God is a God of love, and seeks that which is
best for each of us. Therefore, he provided a plan for us to become
more like him. To gain the wisdom that God has, we needed many experiences,(1)
particularly since there are many things we could not learn or do as spirits
in the premortal life. For example, a spirit cannot feel physical
pain or suffering, and learn by experience what pain is. Neither
can a spirit be baptized or married, nor experience the pain and joy of
having children or watching them grow. To obtain experiences like
these, we have come to this earth and received physical bodies. Itís
a wonderful feeling to be on this earth gaining wisdom and knowledge day
Our Heavenly Father gave Adam
and Eve agency, or freedom to choose. He commanded them not to eat
the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Obeying this
commandment meant they could remain in the garden, but they could not progress
by learning from experiences and challenges. Satan tempted Adam and
Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, and they chose to do so. This was
part of God's plan. Because of their decision, they were separated
from God's presence physically and spiritually. They became mortal,
that is, subject to sin and death. They were unable to return to
Him without his help. Their physical and spiritual separation from
God is called "the Fall."
Our Heavenly Father sent angels
and the Holy Ghost to teach Adam and Eve the plan of salvation. Central
to this plan is the Atonement of Jesus Christ, which enables God's children
to overcome the effects of the Fall and have joy in this life and in eternity.
YOUR LIFE ON EARTH
Because of the Fall, you
are separated from God physically and spiritually. This separation
is part of God's plan for His children. Your purpose in leaving His
presence to come to earth included obtaining a body, gaining experience,
and learning to make right choices.
and knowledge: one way to get these great gifts are by reading
words from the prophets, modern and of old. Scriptures are a powerful
teaching tool to help us learn of Godís plan for us.
Many aspects of life bring happiness,
and some bring sorrow. These experiences help you learn to distinguish
between good and evil and to make correct choices. God influences
you to do good and to follow Him, while Satan tempts you to ignore God
and commit sin. (Sin is knowingly choosing to do wrong or not to
do right.) When you choose to follow God and keep His commandments,
you grow in wisdom and strength of character. You can experience
joy even in times of trial, and you can face life's challenges with a spirit
You have made many good choices
in your life, but you have also made some wrong choices. When you make
wrong choices and commit sin, you separate yourself to some degree from
God. The scriptures call this separation spiritual death. In
addition to separating you from God, sin also causes guilt and shame.
You cannot overcome sin and its effects by yourself.
THE ATONEMENT OF JESUS CHRIST
Because your Heavenly Father
loves you, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay for your sins. This
payment is part of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ voluntarily
suffered for your sins, pains, sicknesses, and sorrows. Through His
grace and mercy, He can help you in your trials and relieve you of the
guilt and shame that result from your sins.
God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever
believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life." John
In paying for your sins, Jesus
did not eliminate your agency or personal responsibility; He will not make
you clean against your will. To receive His help and strength, you
need to exercise faith in Him, repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost,
and choose to follow His teaching for the rest of your life. As you
rely on the Atonement, you will feel the love of God, and He will help
you endure your trials. You will experience joy, peace, and consolation.
All that seems unfair in life can be made right through the atonement of
Jesus Christ and the mercy and love of our Heavenly Father. The Atonement
is the central point in the plan of salvation.
Another reason we come to earth
is to develop faith in God.(2) Our Heavenly
Father wants all of his children to have faith in him.(3)
If we are to have faith in him, we must learn to trust him and have confidence
in his promises to us.(4) One of the great
Book of Mormon prophets, Alma, gave a definition of faith.
now as I said concerning faithÖ faith is not to have a perfect knowledgeof
things; therefore, if ye have faith ye hope for things which are
not seenwhich are true." (Alma 32:21)
In other words, Faith is a hope,
a confidence, a belief in things that are true but which we cannot see.
In our premortal life, we walked primarily by sight; in this life we walk
primarily by faith.(5) Our Heavenly Father
made it possible for us to live by faith by placing a veil of forgetfulness
over our minds, thus causing us to forget the premortal life. Therefore,
live not by memory but by faith. Do you suppose we could
develop faith if we could remember what it was like to be in the premortal
existence with God? No. We would all be perfect because we would
remember our wonderful existence with our Father in Heaven and we wouldnít
want to do anything wrong to make him disappointed in us.(6)
We have already progressed to
the point of obtaining a physical body, which is one of the main reasons
for coming to earth. Remember, the other reason for being on this
earth was that God wanted us to test our faith and see if we would keep
all of his commandments when we are not in his presence.(7)
When we came to earth, he caused us to forget the premortal life and gave
us commandments to live by. Some of those commandments are to:
1) have faith in the Lord
2) repent of our sins
3) be baptized, and
4) love one another.
God Measures our love and
faith in him by how well we keep the commandments. He told his disciples
that if they loved him, they would keep his commandments (John 14:15)
As we keep the commandments, our faith grows and we prepare (8)
to live with our Heavenly Father in his kingdom. No one can ever
be saved in his kingdom without showing his faith by obeying the Lordís
commandments.(9) Just think of the many
ways we can manifest our faith in God? Faith grows by keeping the
commandments and by prayer and study of scriptures and gospel principles.
We lived as spirits with our
Heavenly Father in a premortal life and that we were born into mortality
so we could obtain bodies, gain wisdom and knowledge, develop faith, and
prove to our Heavenly Father that we would keep his commandments.(10)
The most important thing we can do in this life is to keep Godís commandments,
and, in fact, obeying Godís commandments is the only way we will ever be
As we keep the commandments
of God, He will prepare a place for you in His Kingdom. We will each
be judged and rewarded according to our own works here on this earth.
We are personally responsible for our own salvation (remember "The Devil
Made Me Do It" mentality?). We cannot be saved by another manís labor
or how another man keeps the commandments.
am a child of God,
blessings are in store;
I but learn to do his will
live with Him once more....
me, guide me, walk beside me,
me find the way.
me all that I must do
live with him someday. (13)
for more information
(11) I Am a Child of God, 2nd verse, by N. W. Randall
& M. T. Pettit (Hear
the piano music to this song)
Go to the Next
Happens After this Life?