As mortals, we must recognize that it is our nature to be imperfect. I have learned this and had it reemphasized to me repeatedly through most of my life, as I suffer from both short-term memory loss and a form of seizure disorder. However, imperfections often cause us to attempt to overcompensate. In most cases, this leads to things such as pride, covetousness, dishonesty, rebellion, and the like. Our purpose in life ought to be to overcome these flaws, and the sins that often accompany them.
How do we overcome them? The answer ought to be obvious: The Atonement of Jesus Christ. There is no other way through which we can completely rid ourselves of sin. Trust me, I’ve tried.
In Romans 14:11-12, it says, “…As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”
Of course, we each have our agency, the ability to choose between right and wrong for ourselves. We must also be aware that in exercising that agency, we are setting in motion the eternal law of consequence, or, to paraphrase scientific terms, “Every action has an equal reaction”. This means that in the final judgment, unless we repent, we must face the consequences of those flaws and sins that we have not overcome through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. This, the scriptures say, will be accompanied with “…Weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth…” (Alma 40:13)
You may wonder, “What about those who had never had the chance to learn of Jesus Christ and the Gospel?”
In the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, there is a description of an experience that a Roman Centurion, a man who was a pagan worshipper, had while he was watching Christ hanging on the cross. “Now when the Centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw… the things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.” (Matthew 27:50-54)
Here we can see that, although they did not have much knowledge of Christ and Christianity themselves, the death of Christ, and the signs that accompanied it, were enough to help them recognize His divinity.
Furthermore, we also know from latter-day revelation: “All who die without a knowledge of the Gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs in the celestial kingdom of God.” (D&C 137:7)
At the end of our probationary state, we will have the privilege or the misfortune to stand before God and be judged according to our works. Each of us will bend the knee and either admit our faults in denying the Gospel or accept the Grace the Savior extends to us and enter His rest in the Celestial Kingdom.
“If Ye Had Known Me” -Elder David A. Bednar, October 2016
“Why Not Now?” -Elder Neal A. Maxwell, October 1974
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