I wrote an article for ldsblogs.com back in 2015 about this subject. You can find a link to that piece at the bottom of this article. Both are talking about the same basic topic, but from two different vantage points. I hope you find them complementary to each other.
It’s all about God
There is always the possibility that I am alone in what I think or forget about, but I don’t think that happens very often. More often than not if I experience something in the gospel, chances are there are others in the same boat facing the same things. In this case, I think we too often forget how central God, Himself, is in the plan of salvation.
Moses 1:39 tells us that the work and the glory of God is to bring to pass our immortality and our eternal life. That is a lot of information in a very small statement. Fundamental to our understanding of God is to remember what drives Him. Love. It is always and forever about love. All He does is for His family. There is far more to His love for His family than we know about, because for now, we only see things from the perspective of His relationship with us in His efforts to elevate us to His own stature and circumstances.
The plan of salvation is designed as a path, or method, to lead each of God’s children from where they were in the premortal world through the necessary experiences and opportunities that will lead us all back into His presence to enjoy what He enjoys, and to live like He lives as the supreme creator and governor of the universe.
The plan of salvation is not new. It is the same plan He followed to become what He is today. We are not trying something experimental here. This is the tried and true method for anyone to advance from being an intelligence into becoming a holy, exalted, and glorified being of infinite power and intelligence. This plan is as old as eternity itself. We can trust the plan. It works every time.
Our Father in Heaven would personally see to our exaltation, if He only could. He is limited in what He can personally do, because there are places He cannot go, and things He simply cannot do. Once we have progressed through certain stages of being, one cannot go back. To go back would be the opposite of progression.
We are mortals at this point in time. Once we leave earth life, do you ever see yourself returning for a second run at it? That wouldn’t even make sense. Just so, God cannot come back to earth either. He did that a long, long, long time ago. What does that mean for Him then when it comes to His work and glory to save His children if He can’t come to earth with them to help them through the process of becoming godly?
This is why we need a Savior. We needed someone who could come to earth with us, do things for us that we simply don’t have the capacity to do for ourselves, and who could make peace for us between us and God, our Father. As the lawgiver, God can not directly offer us the mercy He wants to show us. But He could send someone in His place to do just that. The whole point of the office of the Savior or Redeemer of God’s children is to represent God, Himself, in all things. The position of the Savior is to show us what God, our Father would do if He were here personally to show us the way back home to Him.
Legally speaking, our Father selected the man we know as Jesus to have His full power of attorney. He literally turned over the care and keeping of all His children to Jesus, who has the responsibility to represent Him in all things. By giving Christ the responsibility to do all that God would do to bring us through our mortal trials, He gave Christ the responsibility to atone for our sins, to resurrect himself and open the door for exaltation for the rest of us, and to be the judge for all of us at the end of our time away from home. That is quite the responsibility.
Jesus acting as God, the Father
Think about this, do you think that Jesus acts independent of the will of the Father? Does Jesus, as the Messiah, the Christ, the Redeemer of all of God’s children, have his own agenda? Do you think for one moment he ever acts or behaves, or thinks of doing things outside of God’s will? If he did, would he still be able to represent God in all things? These are important things to consider, for they have a direct application in our own lives.
If you question any of those statements in the previous paragraph, look through the New Testament and try to locate all the verses where Christ personally states that he ONLY does the will of the Father. How often do we see him going to God in prayer to learn the Lord’s will in how he should proceed? How often does Christ give all the glory for everything he did, to God? As the Savior, Jesus really did fulfill, and does fulfill his responsibility to represent God and what God would do in person if He were here. I believe this is the reason Jesus taught that if you have seen him, you have seen the Father. I honestly don’t believe he was just talking about a physical resemblance.
We are taught over and over again in the scriptures, and from the pulpit, that becoming like God requires us to learn to do as God does, to think as God thinks, and to learn to feel as God feels. Being godly doesn’t come from book learning, but from experiences. It is experiencing that which motivates God, Himself, that will teach us to be like Him. It is that same emotion that directs all that Christ does to show us the character of God. It is love.
The place of the tool
The purpose of a tool is to do what we cannot without it. Right? What does God mean when He says He will make an instrument out of us? Using the definition of a tool just given, this means God will use us to do something that we couldn’t do by ourselves. This is what the whole plan of salvation is designed to accomplish, to transform us into gods, something we cannot do on our own.
What a blessing that our Father is willing to help us change, to enlarge our souls and our capacity to comprehend, to enhance our abilities to feel and experience godly things, even though we are limited and lacking in so many ways. He only had one child who had the native capacity to be a God from the beginning. That child He gave the responsibility of being the Redeemer for the rest of his “not-so-gifted” children.
Everything Christ did in mortality physically shows us what is most important in this life. He showed us by his own behavior how we should behave. He showed us our Father’s sense of justice, mercy, devotion, and gave us a full demonstration of God’s love for each of us in everything he personally did during his mortal ministry.
And how did Christ show us all of these things? He did it by doing the will of the Father. He was an instrument in the Father’s hands to show us the way back home. He was the instrument God used to teach His other children how to become like God, Himself. Christ became the instrument of salvation, used by God, to offer salvation for all of God’s children. Jesus did it willingly, because he understands the nature of love.
Love comes from God, is used by God as His driving passion. Each of His laws are governed by this one trait. Love is the force behind what makes the success of the plan of salvation even possible.
Us as tools
I have talked about God, His love for His children, and how everything He does centers on that love and desire to exalt each and everyone of us. I then talked about how God, already having passed His own time in mortality, couldn’t return to personally help us through it. Another person was required for this job, someone who could represent God in every detail, who could show us in every personal way how much our Father loves us. This is the responsibility He gave to Jesus, who willingly agreed to subjugate his own will to that of his Father’s in order to help Him save the rest of us. In return the Father promised to give all that He currently has to Jesus when as many as are willing to be saved have returned home. Jesus, in response has offered to share, again, just like his Father, all that he receives from God, with those of us who are willing to follow him and keep his commandments.
One of the tools God uses to change us is the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost teaches us and motivates us to look to Christ so we are willing to accept the atonement he made for our sins. He helps us desire to change and be better, accepting the sacrifices Christ made for us so we can become more like our Father in Heaven.
We are all tools, instruments of salvation. As we obey the commandments and listen to the Holy Ghost we are instructed in the ways of godliness. Our hearts are softened so we become more willing to repent. We become more sensitive to the needs of others. Our bowels yearn for the safety and protection of our fellow man. We desire to do more good, to experience spiritual things, and to live a life more fully devoted to godly and holy things.
In mortality, being considered a “tool” is a humiliating thing, for it represents being used by someone else to do their bidding. But in the spiritual realm, becoming an instrument in the hands of God is one of His greatest promises to us. When He makes of us an instrument, it is an exalting experience, both for us and for all those around us.
When we become an instrument in God’s hands, we don’t do what we want, we become doers of His will, just like Christ. We subject our own will to His. The result is happiness, joy, spiritual enlargement and capacity, and being able to see and experience things that will lead to our exaltation in the hereafter.
By subjecting our will to God, by seeking to be a tool or instrument in His hands to help save the souls of our brothers and sisters in mortality, we become like God, Himself. That is what drives Him. That love that governs His life becomes the same emotion that governs our own lives. We cannot learn this in any other way. Success in the plan of salvation is designed to be a community effort, not a solo effort. If we don’t learn to serve each other and care for one another then we will have failed to become the kind of people who would be happy living in the presence of God.
Here is the other article I told you I wrote on this subject.
To print this article click on the PDF link below.