Jesus Christ and Salvation

By Robert L. Millet

Robert L. Millet, “Jesus Christ and Salvation,” in No Weapon Shall Prosper: A Response to Anti-Mormon Views, ed. Robert L. Millet (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2011), 329–344.

Jesus Christ and Salvation

Robert L. Millet

 

Latter-day Saints the world over are known as an industrious and active people, a religious body very much involved in the work of bringing salvation to all. In fact, this focus on work has led many in the Christian world to suppose that Latter-day Saints believe they are saved or exalted as a result of their own good works and not through the merciful Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. This chapter addresses the question of how salvation comes as set forth in Latter-day Saint scriptural and prophetic sources: is it by grace or by works?

 

There is much discussion in the Christian world these days about Latter-day Saint soteriology—what salvation means to a Latter-day Saint and how it comes. Some ask, what is the Latter-day Saint equivalent of the traditional Christian concept of salvation, or eternal life? Others inquire, do Mormons really believe they earn their salvation by good works?

Latter-day Saints believe in the historical Jesus. For us, the historical Jesus is indeed the Christ of faith. We accept as accurate and true the accounts of his ministry in the four Gospels of the New Testament. We believe in the miracle surrounding the birth of the Christ, that he was born of the Virgin Mary. We believe that Jesus of Nazareth lived during the time of Tiberius Caesar, ministered and taught in the days of the high priests Annas and Caiaphas, and died at the hands of Jewish leaders and Roman soldiers under Pontius Pilate.

Jesus Christ grew to maturity, began his ministry, taught his gospel, called people to repentance, announced his kingdom, chose and ordained Apostles, organized his Church, and declared his divine sonship. He performed miracles—such as demonstrating power over the elements, causing the blind to see and the deaf to hear, and even raising the dead. Jesus was the Master Teacher, but he was more than a teacher. He loved those among whom he walked and ministered—Saint and sinner alike—but he was more than a kindly and gentle soul. He was the Christ, the Promised Messiah, the one sent “to preach good tidings unto the meek; . . . to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” (Isaiah 61:1; compare Luke 4:18–19). Jesus was fully human and fully God (see John 10:17–18; compare 2 Nephi 2:8). He is the Son of God, but he is also God the Son. And if it were not so, he could not save us.

While we believe the Fall of Adam and Eve to be a part of God’s sovereign plan, we readily acknowledge that the Fall was real and universal, that it affected man, woman, and all forms of life on earth. All things are born, and all things must die. Further, because of the Fall, we often choose to yield to sin, to live in a manner contrary to the will of the Almighty. No one—not the greatest prophet or the mightiest Apostle—has lived a perfect life. All have sinned. All fall short of the glory of God (see Romans 3:23). All are in need of pardoning mercy. Neither death nor sin can be overcome by anything man can devise. Deliverance can come only through the love and forgiveness of one possessed of the power of God, one who traversed life’s paths without committing sin (see Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22). The reconciliation of fallen, finite men and women to a holy and infinite God is accomplished through the mediation of Jesus Christ, through the implementation of a plan of salvation, through the Atonement. If there had been no atonement or plan of redemption, no amount of good on man’s part could make up for the loss. Jesus Christ is our only hope.

In the act of atonement, Christ offered himself as a ransom for the sins of all humankind (see Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:6). He suffered and bled and died on our behalf and thereby satisfied the demands of divine justice. As Latter-day Saints, we believe his redemptive suffering began in the Garden of Gethsemane, where he experienced something he had never known before, an alienation from his Father, a withdrawal of his Father’s sustaining Spirit. Upon his shoulders fell the burden and weight of the sins of all of the sons and daughters of God. As the Apostle Paul taught, Christ became sin for us so that we might receive the righteousness of God through him (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law,” he wrote on another occasion, “being made a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). God thereby could speak prophetically through Isaiah, “I have trodden the winepress alone; . . . and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments” (Isaiah 63:3). Or, as stated in the Doctrine and Covenants, “I have overcome and have trodden the wine-press alone, even the wine-press of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God” (D&C 76:107; see also 88:106; 133:50).

The atoning suffering was not, however, accomplished fully in Gethsemane; rather, what began in the garden climaxed and was completed on the Cross of Calvary. On that first Good Friday, between the hours of noon and 3:00 p.m., all the agonies of the night before recurred. The Father’s Spirit was withdrawn, causing the sinless one to cry out in agony, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). We thus speak of our Lord’s atoning sacrifice, traditionally called the Passion, as taking place in both Gethsemane and on Golgotha.

Salvation, or eternal life (for in most all of our scriptural sources, these two terms are synonymous), is “the greatest of all the gifts of God” (D&C 14:7; seea also 6:13). It is not something for which we can barter, nor something that may be purchased with money. Nor in the strictest sense is it something that may be earned. More correctly, salvation is a gift, a gift most precious, something gloriously transcendent that may only be inherited and bestowed.

A Book of Mormon prophet explained that “the Spirit is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. And the way is prepared from the fall of man, and salvation is free” (2 Nephi 2:4). One Latter-day Saint leader, Elder Bruce R. McConkie, has written:

Salvation is free. (2 Nephi 2:4.) Justification is free. Neither of them can be purchased; neither can be earned; neither comes by the Law of Moses, or by good works, or by any power or ability that man has. . . . Salvation is free, freely available, freely to be found. It comes because of his goodness and grace, because of his love, mercy, and condescension toward the children of men. . . . The questions then are: What salvation is free? What salvation comes by the grace of God? With all the emphasis of the rolling thunders of Sinai, we answer: All salvation is free; all comes by the merits and mercy and grace of the Holy Messiah; there is no salvation of any kind, nature, or degree that is not bound to Christ and his atonement. [1]

Very often I am asked why the Latter-day Saints do not believe in the saving efficacy of the cross. We do. We proclaim, just as the Apostle Paul did, “Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). Unfortunately, our belief in the power of the cross is not well known among traditional Christians. One woman in Canada asked my friend, Pastor Gregory Johnson, how he could stand to have close association with me and other Latter-day Saints. “Why do you ask that?” he inquired. She responded, “Mormons don’t even believe that Jesus died on the cross.” Greg shook his head and came back with a question: “Where do you suppose the Latter-day Saints think Jesus died?” “Oh, I don’t mean that,” she said. “They don’t believe he died for our sins on the cross.”

Not true. In the Book of Mormon, we read that Nephi foresaw the time, some six hundred years ahead, when Jesus would be “lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world” (1 Nephi 11:33; emphasis added). Much like Paul, Jacob called upon the followers of the Redeemer to experience for themselves the power of the cross: “Wherefore, we would to God that we could persuade all men not to rebel against God, to provoke him to anger, but that all men would believe in Christ, and view his death, and suffer his cross and bear the shame of the world” (Jacob 1:8; emphasis added; compare Moroni 9:25). Notice the language of the risen Lord to the people of the Book of Mormon: “Behold, I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me. And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil” (3 Nephi 27:13–14; emphasis added).


Latter-day Saints' belief in the power of the cross is not well known among traditional Christians. However, Latter-day Saint scripture is replete with testimonies of the power of Christ's crucifixion such as in Doctrine and Covenants 21:9: "Jesus was crucified by sinful men for the sins of the world, yea, for the remission of sins unto the contrite heart," (Harry Anderson, The Crucifixion, © Intellectual Reserve, Inc.)

 

The testimony of the Doctrine and Covenants is that “Jesus was crucified by sinful men for the sins of the world, yea, for the remission of sins unto the contrite heart” (D&C 21:9; emphasis added). “I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was crucified for the sins of the world, even as many as will believe on my name, that they may become the [children] of God, even one in me as I am one in the Father, as the Father is one in me, that we may be one” (D&C 35:2). In beginning a brief passage on various spiritual gifts, a revelation in the Doctrine and Covenants affirms: “To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world. To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful” (D&C 46:13–14; emphasis added). Elsewhere: “Behold, I, the Lord, who was crucified for the sins of the world, give unto you a commandment that you shall forsake the world” (D&C 53:2). President Joseph F. Smith was taught in his Vision of the Redemption of the Dead that salvation has “been wrought through the sacrifice of the Son of God upon the cross” (D&C 138:35).

I have not even begun to take the time to list or read the scores of passages in the Book of Mormon and modern scripture that speak of the vital need for Christ’s suffering and death. That is to say, it was not just his suffering but also his death—on the cruel cross of Calvary—that was an indispensable element of the atoning sacrifice. As Mormon wrote: “Now Aaron began to open the scriptures unto them concerning the coming of Christ, and also concerning the resurrection of the dead, and that there could be no redemption for mankind save it were through the death and sufferings of Christ, and the atonement of his blood” (Alma 21:9; compare 22:14). In short, “he surely must die that salvation may come” (Helaman 14:15). This doctrine was taught from the very beginning. Some three millennia before the coming of Jesus to earth, Enoch saw in vision “the day of the coming of the Son of Man, even in the flesh; and his soul rejoiced, saying: The Righteous is lifted up, and the Lamb is slain from the foundation of the world.” Enoch “looked and beheld the Son of Man lifted up on the cross, after the manner of men” (Moses 7:47, 55).

We have no quarrel with those who speak reverently of the cross, for so did those whose writings compose a significant portion of the New Testament and those who spoke or wrote what is contained in our own scriptural records. The cross is a symbol. We are not opposed to symbols, for our people erect statues of the angel Moroni atop our most sacred edifices and wear CTR (“choose the right”) rings on their fingers. On a number of occasions when I have been asked why the Latter-day Saints do not believe in the saving efficacy of the cross and when I have corrected the false impression by referring to passages like those cited above, a follow-up question comes: “Well then, if you people really do claim to be Christian, why do you not have crosses on your buildings, your vestments, or your literature?” It appears that crosses were seldom if ever placed on our meetinghouses. Inasmuch as many of our early converts came from a Puritan background, they, like the Puritans, were essentially anticeremonial and did not use crosses. For that matter, early Baptists did not have crosses on their churches for a long time, at least until they began to move into mainstream Protestantism.

In short, the key is not to become overly focused on the symbol but to allow the symbol to point beyond itself toward that which is of deepest significance. Thus we do not worship Moroni; we look upon those statues and are reminded that through the instrumentality of Moroni and a whole host of divine messengers the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth (see Revelation 14:6–7). When we see a CTR ring, we are reminded that the followers of the Good Shepherd must do more than talk the talk; they must walk the walk, must conform their lives to the pattern he has shown and live a life befitting a true disciple. In that spirit, President Joseph F. Smith reminded us that “having been born anew, which is the putting away of the old man sin, and putting on of the man Christ Jesus, we have become soldiers of the Cross, having enlisted under the banner of Jehovah for time and for eternity.” [2]

After Jesus was taken down from the cross, he was placed in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. Three days later, on that first Easter morning, in a manner miraculous and thus incomprehensible to us all, he rose from the dead. His spirit and body were reunited to form a resurrected, immortal, and glorified being. Jesus thereby became the “firstfruits of them that slept.” And because Jesus rose from the dead, we have a supernal hope in the immortality of the soul, the knowledge that death is not the end, the assurance that we will live again: “For since by man [Adam] came death, by man [Jesus] came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:20–22).

Salvation, or eternal life, is described in the Doctrine and Covenants as “the greatest of all the gifts of God” (D&C 6:13; 14:7). A Book of Mormon prophet taught that “salvation is free” (2 Nephi 2:4). The gospel of Jesus Christ represents a covenant. God agrees to do for us those things we could never do for ourselves—forgive our sins, cleanse and renew our minds and hearts, and raise us from the dead in the resurrection in a glorified, immortal condition. These are the acts of God, acts of grace. The Book of Mormon clearly teaches that “since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself” (Alma 22:14) and that “there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah” (2 Nephi 2:8). Grace is unearned divine assistance, unmerited divine favor, enabling power, heavenly help to accomplish tasks that we could never accomplish when left to our own meager resources. We will be forever grateful for the grace of God; indeed, we have been instructed to rely wholly, to rely alone upon the merits of him who is mighty to save (see 2 Nephi 31:19; Moroni 6:4).

The other side of the covenant is what we as mortals agree to do. We gladly acknowledge the gifts of God, but gifts must be received in order to be enjoyed. We receive the blessings of the Atonement by exercising faith in the Lord Jesus Christ: we come to believe what he says and rely upon what he has done, is now doing, and will yet do for us. We trust him, yield our hearts unto him, and surrender our will to him. Repentance and baptism naturally flow as fruits of faith, as does a dedicated life, a discipleship that demonstrates faithfulness (see James 2:17–20). By living faithfully and keeping the commandments of God, we can receive a fuller measure of blessings here and hereafter, but even these greater blessings are freely given of him and are not really “earned.”

“Men and women unquestionably have impressive powers and can bring to pass great things,” Elder Dallin H. Oaks observed. “But after all our obedience and good works, we cannot be saved from death or the effects of our individual sins without the grace extended by the atonement of Jesus Christ. . . . In other words, salvation does not come simply by keeping the commandments. . . . Man cannot earn his own salvation.” [3]

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland explained: “Some gifts coming from the Atonement are universal, infinite, and unconditional. . . . Other aspects of Christ’s atoning gift are conditional. They depend on one’s diligence in keeping God’s commandments. . . . Of course neither the unconditional nor the conditional blessings of the Atonement are available except through the grace of Christ. Obviously the unconditional blessings of the Atonement are unearned, but the conditional ones are not fully merited either. By living faithfully and keeping the commandments of God, one can receive additional privileges; but they are still given freely, not technically earned.” [4]

We know that men and women simply cannot save themselves. At the same time, we believe that good works are important, that they evidence what kind of people we really are; how we live is a visible witness to what we believe. Conversion to Christ cannot be separated from Christian discipleship. The Master himself called upon people in his day (and ours) to repent and change their ways. “If any man will come after me,” he said, “let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). “If ye love me,” he said to the Twelve at the Last Supper, “keep my commandments” (John 14:16).

Is there some Latter-day Saint concept of “eternal security”? Can Latter-day Saints ever have peace in regard to their standing before God, or must they live in anxiety this side of heaven? How can we know we are saved before we die? The comforting response to these queries is that same Holy Spirit of Promise—the Holy Spirit promised the followers of the Christ—who searches the hearts of men and women, who ratifies and approves and seals ordinances (sacraments) and lives, that same Holy Spirit who serves, as Paul indicates, as “the earnest of our inheritance” (Ephesians 1:14; see also 2 Corinthians 1:21–22; 5:5). The Lord’s “earnest money” on us, his down payment, his engagement ring, his indication to us that he is serious about saving us, is the Holy Spirit. We know that we are on course when the Spirit is with us. We know that our lives are approved of God when the Spirit is with us. We know that we are in Christ, in covenant, when the Spirit is with us (see 1 John 4:13). And we know, I suggest, that we are saved when the Spirit is with us. If we live in such a way that we enjoy the gifts of the Spirit, then we are in the line of our duty; we are approved of the heavens, and if we were to die suddenly, we would go into paradise and eventually into the highest heaven.

The following is an intriguing statement from President Brigham Young:

If a person with an honest heart, a broken, contrite, and pure spirit, in all fervency and honesty of soul, presents himself and says that he wishes to be baptized for the remission of his sins, and the ordinance is administered by one having authority, is that man saved? Yes, to that period of time. Should the Lord see proper to take him then from the earth, the man has believed and been baptized, and is a fit subject for heaven—a candidate for the kingdom of God in the celestial world, because he has repented and done all that was required of him at that hour. . . .

It is present salvation and the present influence of the Holy Ghost that we need every day to keep us on saving ground. . . .

I want present salvation. I preach, comparatively, but little about the eternities and Gods, and their wonderful works in eternity; and do not tell who first made them, nor how they were made; for I know nothing about that. Life is for us, and it for us receive it today, and not wait for the Millennium. Let us take a course to be saved today, and, when evening comes, review the acts of the day, repent of our sins, if we have any to repent of, and say our prayers; then we can lie down and sleep in peace until the morning, arise with gratitude to God, commence the labors of another day, and strive to live the whole day to God and nobody else. [5]

Then what of those who wrestle with feelings of inadequacy, struggle with hopelessness, and in general are much too anxious about their standing before God? “I am in the hands of the Lord,” President Young pointed out, “and never trouble myself about my salvation, or what the Lord will do with me hereafter.” [6] As he said on another occasion, our work “is a work of the present. The salvation we are seeking is for the present, and sought correctly, it can be obtained, and be continually enjoyed. If it continues today, it is upon the same principle that it will continue tomorrow, the next day, the next week, or the next year, and, we might say, the next eternity.” [7]

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that doubt—certainly including a constant worry as to our standing before God or our capacity to go where Christ is—cannot coexist with saving faith. Fear and doubt “preclude the possibility of the exercise of faith in [God] for life and salvation.” [8] If indeed “happiness is the object and design of our existence,” [9] then happiness is something to be enjoyed in the present, in the here and now, not something reserved for the distant there and then. “If we are saved,” President Young declared, “we are happy, we are filled with light, glory, intelligence, and we pursue a course to enjoy the blessings that the Lord has in store for us. If we continue to pursue that course, it produces just the thing we want, that is, to be saved at this present moment. And that will lay the foundation to be saved forever and forever, which will amount to an eternal salvation.” [10]

Likewise, David O. McKay, ninth President of the Church, taught, “The gospel of Jesus Christ . . . is in very deed, in every way, the power of God unto salvation. It is salvation here—here and now. It gives to every man the perfect life, here and now, as well as hereafter.” [11] On another occasion he stated: “Sometimes we think of salvation here in life today. I like to think that my Church makes me a better man, my wife a better woman, . . . my children nobler sons and daughters, here and now. I look upon the gospel as a power contributing to those conditions.” [12]

The Savior extended the ultimate challenge to his followers when he beckoned, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). To be perfect is to be made whole, complete, finished, fully formed. Such a state comes only through the Atonement, for we are “made perfect” (D&C 76:69), perfected in Christ (see Moroni 10:32). Through the precious blood of our Lord, we become “new creatures” (Mosiah 27:26), “joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17), and “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). While we are unable now to fathom what life in the presence of God will be like, “we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, “Salvation is nothing more nor less than to triumph over all our enemies and put them under our feet.” That is, “salvation is for a man to be saved from all his enemies; for until a man can triumph over death, he is not saved.” In short, for a man to be saved means “being placed beyond the power of all his enemies.” [13] Latter-day Saints believe and teach that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior of all, the “prototype or standard of salvation; or, in other words, . . . a saved being. And if we should . . . ask how it is that he is saved? the answer would be—because he is a just and holy being.” That just and holy Being, according to Joseph Smith, proposed to save the human family; that is, “he proposed to make them like unto himself, and he was like the Father, the great prototype of all saved beings; and for any portion of the human family to be assimilated into their likeness is to be saved.” In this light, “salvation consists in the glory, authority, majesty, power and dominion which Jehovah possesses and in nothing else; and no being can possess it but himself or one like him.” [14]

It is glorious and heartwarming to know that God our Father has a plan for his children, a plan of recovery, a plan of renewal and reconciliation, a plan of salvation, a plan by which those who wander—and that includes all of us—can pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and, through the cleansing and enabling power of the Atonement, return home. No one of us is bright enough or powerful enough to do it alone; we must have help. And were it not for divine assistance, each of us would falter and fail, would lose the battle of life. “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57). Our God offers us “so great salvation” (Hebrews 2:3) through the infinite intercession of the only completely pure and perfect being to walk the earth.

On January 1, 2000, the leaders of the highest councils of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement entitled “The Living Christ” (see appendix). The document ends on a note of praise and witness by attesting that “Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of the Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.”

We rejoice in “the gospel, the glad tidings . . . that he came into the world, even Jesus, to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness” (D&C 76:40–41). In him we have total trust. In him we have complete confidence. Upon him we rely everlastingly. This good news we share with professing Christians throughout the world. Our hearts resonate with the words of Paul: “Thanks be to God, [who] giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Appendix. The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

As we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago, we offer our testimony of the reality of His matchless life and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice. None other has had so profound an influence upon all who have lived and will yet live upon the earth.

He was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah of the New. Under the direction of His Father, He was the creator of the earth. “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3). Though sinless, He was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. He “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38), yet was despised for it. His gospel was a message of peace and goodwill. He entreated all to follow His example. He walked the roads of Palestine, healing the sick, causing the blind to see, and raising the dead. He taught the truths of eternity, the reality of our premortal existence, the purpose of our life on earth, and the potential for the sons and daughters of God in the life to come.

He instituted the sacrament as a reminder of His great atoning sacrifice. He was arrested and condemned on spurious charges, convicted to satisfy a mob, and sentenced to die on Calvary's cross. He gave His life to atone for the sins of all mankind. His was a great vicarious gift in behalf of all who would ever live upon the earth.

We solemnly testify that His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary. He was the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world.

He rose from the grave to “become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Cor. 15:20). As Risen Lord, He visited among those He had loved in life. He also ministered among His “other sheep” (John 10:16) in ancient America. In the modern world, He and His Father appeared to the boy Joseph Smith, ushering in the long-promised “dispensation of the fulness of times” (Eph. 1:10).

Of the Living Christ, the Prophet Joseph wrote: “His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying:

“I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father” (D&C 110:34).

Of Him the Prophet also declared: “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!

“For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—

“That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God” (D&C 76:22–24).

We declare in words of solemnity that His priesthood and His Church have been restored upon the earth—“built upon the foundation of ... apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Eph. 2:20).

We testify that He will someday return to earth. “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together” (Isa. 40:5). He will rule as King of Kings and reign as Lord of Lords, and every knee shall bend and every tongue shall speak in worship before Him. Each of us will stand to be judged of Him according to our works and the desires of our hearts.

We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles—that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son. (“The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Ensign, April 2000, 2)

Notes

[1] Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1978), 346–47.

[2] Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1963), 91.

[3] Dallin H. Oaks, With Full Purpose of Heart (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2002), 75.

[4] Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Atonement of Jesus Christ,” Ensign, March 2008, 35–36; emphasis added.

[5] Brigham Young, in Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. (Liverpool: F. D. Richards & Sons, 1851–86), 8:124–25; emphasis added.

[6] Brigham Young, in Journal of Discourses, 6:278.

[7] Brigham Young; Journal of Discourses, 1:31; emphasis added.

[8] Joseph Smith, comp., Lectures of Faith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1985), 52; see also 42, 71.

[9] History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ed. B.H. Roberts, 2nd ed. rev. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1978), 5:134.

[10] Brigham Young, in Journal of Discourses, 1:131; emphasis added.

[11] David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals (Salt Lake City: Improvement Era, 1953), 6.

[12] David O. McKay, in Church News, February 28, 1953. For an excellent treatment of the concept of “being saved” in Latter-day Saint theology, see True to the Faith (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2004), 150–53; see also Dallin H. Oaks, in Conference Report, April 1998, 75–79.

[13] History of the Church, 5:387.

[14] Smith, Lectures on Faith, 75–76, 79.