Sunday, June 6, 2010

Why Being a Child of God is Not Enough

“It is good to remember that you are always a child of God. This knowledge will carry you through the most difficult times in your life and will inspire you to accomplish remarkable things. However, it is also important to remember that being a [son or] daughter of eternal parents is not a distinction you earned or you will ever lose. You will always and forever remain a [son or] daughter of God. Your Heavenly Father has high aspirations for you, but your divine origin alone does not guarantee you a divine inheritance. God sent you here to prepare for a future greater than anything you can imagine.

The promised blessings of God to the faithful are glorious and inspiring. Among them are “thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths.” And it takes more than a spiritual birth certificate or a “Child of God Membership Card” to qualify for these incomprehensible blessings” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Living the Gospel Joyful,” General Women’s Meeting Address, Sept. 27, 2014).

We are all born “naturally” as natural descendants of Adam, who was God’s son. We are also the spirit sons and daughters of God. It is in this general sense that all men can be called children of God. All men are children of God, and (all things being equal) all men have the same claim to the love of their Father in Heaven.  Therefore we gain no particular distinction nor can we derive any special status above our fellows simply due to the fact of our divine heritage.  Our divine origin is important, and vital to know about, but being born into this world as a child of God does not automatically confer any kind of righteousness, merit, or status upon us; nor does our divine pedigree, in and of itself, guarantee salvation for us in any way.

“But how do we attain [these blessings]? The Savior has answered this question in our time: “Except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory.  “For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation. “… Receive ye, therefore, my law.”

For this reason, we speak of walking the path of discipleship.  We speak of obedience to God’s commandments.  We speak of living the gospel joyfully, with all our heart, might, mind, and soul” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Living the Gospel Joyful,” General Women’s Meeting Address, Sept. 27, 2014).

If we wish to inherit all that the Father has, then we must become bound to him through more than just the mere fact of our parentage.  We were placed on this Earth in order that we might have the opportunity, over time, to prove ourselves, and our loyalty, to God. We demonstrate this loyalty and love by steadfastly and valiantly keeping His commandments, and by binding ourselves to God through covenants made by means of ordinances such as baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands.

Putting Off the Natural Man

Why must we do all of these things in order to inherit all of the blessings which the Father wishes to give His children?  As His children, should we not have some natural claim to our divine inheritance?

Unfortunately, we each make mistakes, and commit sins and transgressions. In our “natural” fallen state, which comes upon us as a consequence of the fall of Adam and Eve, we become “carnal, sensual, devilish, knowing evil from good” and thus, through sin, we become estranged from our Father in heaven. If we persist in our willful defiance of God’s laws (to say nothing of His love for us), we will become estranged from Him to the point that we may become “an enemy to God” even in this life (see Mosiah 16).
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