17 May 2015

Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ

What a wonderful thing. Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Χριστοῦ, the Holy מָשִׁיחַ, the very Son of God the Eternal Father. Without regard to which of the three degrees of glory a person may be assigned to, such confession of faith will take place at some point. No one will be compelled to do so. All will fall on their knees with gratitude toward Him who suffered for us in Gethsemane and in Calvary. All will freely confess with tears of joy streaming down our cheeks. We will feel gratefulness and appreciation for Him without whom there could be no salvation. 

The Savior invites each of us to repent, that is, to follow Him: to turn or to return (שׁוּב) unto Him. Because our Lord’s suffering caused Him indescribable pain, He wishes to spare us the same. In His own words Christ speaks somewhat of the suffering that took place as part of His expiatory sacrifice:

“Wherefore, I command you to repent, and keep the commandments which you have received by the hand of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., in my name; And it is by my almighty power that you have received them; Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not. For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I; Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men. Wherefore, I command you again to repent, lest I humble you with my almighty power; and that you confess your sins, lest you suffer these punishments of which I have spoken, of which in the smallest, yea, even in the least degree you have tasted at the time I withdrew my Spirit” (D&C 19:13-20).

Some might form the mistaken idea that only those who inherit the Celestial Kingdom will bow in gratitude to our Redeemer for His expiatory sacrifice. Rather, every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is the Christ.

President Joseph Fielding Smith taught: “. . . every soul eventually must become acquainted with the plan of salvation . . . We read that every knee must bow and every tongue confess Jesus Christ as the Son of God . . . In every kingdom the inhabitants must know that they have been redeemed from death, and have received such blessings as are granted them, through the mercy of Jesus Christ . . . And all of the principles of the gospel which have been given unto us pertain to the celestial kingdom. Now, of course, if a man enters into one of the others because of disobedience, he will yet have to acknowledge Christ; he will have to believe in him as being the Son of God; he will have to bend the knee; for every knee must bow, and every tongue eventually must confess that Jesus is the Christ; that will be required of all, not merely those who are willing to keep the commandments and thereby receive exaltation.”  —Doctrines of Salvation.

Because the Holy One of Israel has already paid our price of redemption in full (I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins —Isaiah 44:22a), why not accept His invitation to return unto Him? (Return unto me; for I have redeemed thee —Isaiah 44:22b). When we realize the incredible gift we have been made partakers of, we can return to the Lord with full purpose of mind and join Isaiah’s exuberant song of gratitude: Sing, O ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains —Isaiah 44:23a. 

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