Chauncey C. Riddle
We will talk about the creation of the earth and of the world as a setting for the probation of man. This earth was set up as the perfect place for man’s probation. Into this setting, now comes the gospel of Jesus Christ with its message of hope, life, and salvation. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news of life. Life being the greatest kind of living.
There are three kinds of life Father is trying to give us: He is trying to give us a certain duration and quality of physical life. He is trying to give us life in connection with righteousness. He is trying to give us life in connection with posterity. Now, any person who has all three of those who has a celestial, immortal body, who has become righteous and has the right and the opportunity to have posterity eternally. He has the fullness of eternal life or it’s called eternal lives. So, that’s what the Father is trying to give us through the gospel. He’s trying to give us salvation.
The Prophet Joseph said that salvation was to be put beyond the power of our enemies. Who is our enemy? My understanding is that Satan is not our enemy, he’s not our friend either. He’s just there to do his job. My understanding is that our enemy is ourselves. And that what we need to do is to get rid of our selfishness. And if we can ever manage to do that, that is salvation. Because that’s the enemy we need to fear, is our own selfishness. When the Savior came among the Jews, they wanted to be saved but they had a different definition of salvation. Their definition of salvation was to smash the Roman Armies so they could become an independent political kingdom. His definition of salvation was to help them stop being selfish. And that they did not want. They wanted him to smash the Roman Armies and they rejected him as the Messiah because he had the audacity to tell them he was the Messiah and yet would do nothing about the Romans. Well the Savior had the Romans there for a special reason, that was part of the plan. It was his idea but most of the Jews’ nation did not see the idea and therefore missed the opportunity for life and salvation.
The natural man is given this opportunity not because all of them will want it. All of them will want pieces of it. All of them will get immortality for instance but not all will have eternal lives in the full sense.
The gospel itself is a short message. It consists of perhaps ten ideas which can be said in one breath if you have a good lung capacity. The gospel is compatible with all truth, indeed it embraces all truth and light in the universe. But it itself is a very limited short message. It is basically the message a person has to know to be ready worthy meaningfully baptized. So we are gong to review these ten ideas now. We’re not going to give them in the one breath, we’re going to expand on each one a little bit.
First, Jesus Christ is the Son of God the Father. That’s the first thing we have to know. This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So the first thing we have to know is who Jesus Christ is. He is the Son of God. And that simply means, he was not a God at first but became a God, thus he is called the Son of God. Having become a God he has inherited all that the Father has. And that’s important because he extends that same opportunity to you and to me. He was Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament who’s name means, “will be.” He is the God who would be, that is to say, who was to come, on the earth. He was the God who would be born of Mary in the land of Jerusalem of the seed of Abraham, of the seed of David. But also he is literally the only begotten Son of God the Father in the flesh. He has this divine heritage and the natural mortal heritage. He had blood in his veins but he had sufficient of the divine heritage he could have lived for ever, not needing to die. And because he was the son of God and had the presence of his Father with him at all times and was perfectly obedient to his Father, he did not sin.
He came into the world to do his Father’s will and to do nothing but his Father’s will. He did this completely and perfectly. His Father’s will was, that he should first lead this sinless life and then give up this perfect and potentially unending mortal life that he might ransom the souls and bodies of all mankind.
Second, the Father’s will was that he be lifted up upon the cross, that is to say the main reason the Savior came to the earth was to atone for our sins. He didn’t apparently do anything else that was, for instance somebody else could have set up a church and taught the gospel. That wasn’t essential to his mission though he did those things. What was essential was that he do the two things; that he live a sinless life so that he could atone for our sins and then atone for our sins.
The cross is the symbolic symbol of his working out the atonement. So having lived this sinless life because of his divine heritage he was able to personally, voluntarily take upon himself and suffer the debt of justice due for each and every sin that had been committed or would be committed by any human being on this earth. Again this is something that boggles the mind because this necessities that every sin (The Father is so omniscient that every sin that had been committed was carefully cataloged) every sin that was being committed was carefully cataloged, every sin that would be committed was carefully cataloged already when the Savior wrought his atonement.
So there was something known about your life and my life, every lie that we ever tell was already known back when the Savior did his atonement. Does that mean we are free? Well, stop and think about how we are free. The thing that is important to us is that we must recognize that when we sin, we sin of our own choice. That is to say, after we know the gospel and have the Spirit as our companion. If we then sin deliberately then we are deliberate adding to the Savior’s burden, that is say it was known back then that we would deliberately know we were sinning against him and adding to his atonement. So even that’s known. So we have to be careful that we do not crucify him afresh. Shed his blood again by our own deliberate sins. That’s the thing that is very hard to get forgiveness for. It’s much easier to receive forgiveness for a sin that’s not known, that is to say when we don’t know what we’re doing. Whenever a person does the right thing, there’s a measure of blessing that goes out to everybody whom he effects.
Happy, smiling, full of the Spirit, he affects everybody that passes by. This is fun to watch in New York City where the contrast is so obvious. You walk down the street and here comes somebody who is a saint. It’s as there was a light extending out about eight or ten feet and it’s so special to see that. To see the missionaries standing on a street corner and sometimes that light will be around them. It’s so special, so precious in that situation. Well, that’s the nature of our lives, we were sent into the earth to radiate a certain amount of blessing and happiness and good to others. Now anything short of that possible radiation happens because we disobey God. That shortness is the measure of our sin. So if we either shorten that blessing or replace it with evil, that is to say we spread an evil influence. That’s the measure of the sin of our lives. And the debt of justice is, somebody has to make up for all of that.
God put everybody on earth intending, that is to say, when things are right everybody is radiating this good. So everybody is getting so much radiation of good from others that their life is completely happy. Now, if we were to live in Zion we would see that kind of situation. Everybody would be so happy and so blessed, there would be no sickness, no depression, no schizophrenia, no problems. Everybody would be so busy doing what they’re supposed to do to serve the Father that everybody would be in a constant state of joy. I said it wasn’t a state. Everybody would have joy and be in a constant state of happiness. And that is the heritage of all human beings to live in that kind of a state.
Whenever any human being defies the commandments of God he shortens someone else in receiving that happiness. That is sin. And justice is, that person has to account for having shorted his fellow beings. I hope that makes sense. So, whenever we sin we cause others to suffer. And the measure of our lives is the amount of suffering we have caused. And we have to account for all the suffering. It is expected that as children of God with this wonderful heritage we would not cause suffering. But when we deliberately go against God and cause suffering then we have to pay for it. We have been set free but to be free also means that we must also be accountable. Now, what did the Savior do? He came into the earth and took the sum total of all this suffering that ever had been caused, that was being caused, that ever would be caused on the earth and suffered for all that pain in one twenty-four hour period.
Now you and I can’t imagine how much suffering we’ve caused with our own lives. We can think back a little bit about how others have caused us to suffer through their sins. And we have some sense then of how we have caused others to suffer. But you sum that up for all human beings over all time, it’s an impossible thing for us to imagine. But it is such a great weight of suffering no human being can even understand it, let alone suffer it.
But the Savior, being a God, could both understand it and suffer it, every last particle. It’s no wonder he asked the Father if it be possible that the cup might pass from him. He was in intense pain. Had he had the privilege of spreading that pain out over a thousand years, that would have been a little easier to bare. But he had to do it all in that one twenty-four hour period. That was his cup. That’s why he was born. For that hour he came into the world and lived a sinless life. So that then he could suffer that suffering. Why did he suffer that suffering? So that then he could forgive us. Because you and I if we’re not forgiven can never go back to the Father. The Father being a perfect being cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance. So anybody who has sinned and has not made up for it can’t ever be in his presence again. And you and I can’t make up for our sins. Because there is another part to sinning besides the suffering.
The suffering has to be paid for but then the recompense has to be paid back to the person we sinned against. So that their life is as though we had never sinned against them. How do you go back and make all the reparations? Our sins go on through time, think how much suffering and evil it brings into the world with those acts. We’re responsible for this and until those wrongs are set right and suffered for and all the wrong that was set in motion by that is set right, the thing is not whole.
Now the Savior’s mission is to make that whole thing whole. So he has to atone for the sins of and then set everything right. He has to restore everybody to that happiness that they would have had if nobody sinned against them. Which of course only a God can do. You and I can’t do that, that is to say, we can try to make recompense for our sins but we really can’t begin. We just begin, we can’t really do it. Without the Savior it would be hopeless for us to account for our sins. So we need that atonement, we desperately need his help. We should be so grateful to him for the fact that he was willing to come and suffer and not only that but make up for all the sins that we committed. Make it up to the people we hurt.
Thirdly. He allows us to be taken out of hell, out of the power of Satan when we die.
Fourthly. He enables us to be resurrected. Now accomplishing those four things is a mighty work. That’s the work of the Savior’s atonement. So he performed his work perfectly so that everyone of us can have blessings that are possible. This is why it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Because he is the one who is the way. He provided the opening of the door that makes it possible to get back to the Father. The door is himself, his suffering and we must go through him to get back to the Father.
Fifthly. It is our Gather’s will that after the Savior had paid the debt and made salvation possible for every human being that every human being be required to stand before the Savior to account for the opportunity that each has to repent of his sins. So the judgment comes.
There is a way for each human being to prepare for the judgment:
- To put one’s faith, one’s trust in Jesus Christ. We have to yield ourselves to him as the Savior to be saved. Salvation comes through him and through him only. All our needs for light and truth or light and salvation are met through him.
- Repentance under the direction of the Holy Spirit. That is to say through faith in Jesus Christ. Each of us must undertake to go through our heart, our mind, our strength, and our might and set in order all these things according to the truth and light which the Savior sends to us.
- Enter the covenant
- Receive the Holy Ghost
- Endure to the end. Life eternal
- Promise to match the warning
The gospel of Jesus Christ is simply that program that teaches us how to love God with all our heart, might, mind, and strength. It’s one thing to know that that’s the great commandment, it’s another thing to be able to do it. And the only way to be able to do it is to receive knowledge and power through Jesus Christ.