Friday, January 10, 2014

What Is the Truth That Shall Make Us Free? A Book of Mormon Answer

John 8:31-32 says:

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
What is the truth that shall make us free? 

In the LDS Church, we quote 2 Nephi 2:25 all the time ("Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy."), but I believe we don’t quote 2 Nephi 2:26 nearly enough. This verse is beautiful and so central to the lesson taught thoughout the chapter.  (I have described verse 25 as a "bridge" from what comes before it to the most important message in the entire chapter - verse 26.)  Verse 26 says (emphasis mine):
And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.
I read verse 26 as saying that it is the redemption that constitutes the truth that makes us free – that “justifies” the Fall (our separation from God) and gives us the insight to know good from evil. In other words, I don’t believe we know good from evil because we were removed from God’s presence (“fell”); I believe we know good from evil because a God agreed to redeem us from that separation and allowed us to be taught “truth”.

What truth?

That we actually are children of God who actually can become heirs of God and joint-heirs of Christ. That Jesus meant what he said, in so many places in the Bible, literally.  That simple “good news” makes us free to act upon hopes we can’t see (faith), act to change our very nature (repent), act to be cleansed symbolically (baptism) and act in an attempt to know God’s will (receive the Holy Ghost). It’s an acceptance of the Atonement / redemption in all its marvelous glory (not “denying the power thereof”) that constitutes the truth that makes us free to act and not be acted upon. 

Verse 26 says all of that, in my opinion – and I continually am blown away by how concisely it does so.

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