Open Your Heart

Blog #47 November 26, 2022 
God created a universe that was perfect in form and effort. Its spiritual perfection included righteousness, compassion, true concern for others based on an ability to love one another, and charity. God created a temporal perfection that mirrored all that He had created spiritually. He created humanity and gave them the ability to discern, decide, and have free will. These attributes qualify us to have dominion over all God created, but we must consider the true nature of the dominion given. Humanity is not ruler over all of God's temporal creation. We are instead caretakers of a domain designed by God. We are charged with maintaining the purity of all He created that it might flourish and grow to the fullness God's design.

Genesis 1:29-30 
1:29 And I, God, created man in mine own image, in the image of mine Only Begotten created I him; male and female created I them. 
1:30 And I, God, blessed them and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Adam and Eve were given life, love, sustenance, fellowship, and purpose. Acceptance of God's perfect design for the universe caused them to live in willing obedience to God's truth. In that attitude of willing obedience, they were blessed with God's mercy. They and all of creation were immortal and existed in a state of eternal purpose growing in both knowledge and understanding. 

Genesis 1:31-32 
1:31 And I, God, said unto man, Behold, I have given you every herb, bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth; and every tree in the which shall be the fruit of a tree, yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 
1:32 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein I grant life, there shall be given every clean herb for meat; and it was so, even as I spake.

In his free will, Adam and Eve had the capacity to guide their own lives and the lives of all under their care. They had the ability to agree with God and the God given right rebel against His perfection. They even had knowledge of the blessings of obedience and the condemnation of rebellion. 

Genesis 2:19-22 
2:19 And I, the Lord God, commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; 
2:20 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; 
2:21 Nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee; but remember that I forbid it; 
2:22 For in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

In rebellion to the perfection of God's justice the fullness of His perfect creation was tainted. By losing the purity of action that God's justice sought, God's mercy could not longer be applied or utilized. Creation was no longer immortal or eternal and all that was temporal faced the intrusion on life we call death. 

Romans 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, unto sin, ye shall die; but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live unto Christ.

Humanity was created with the ability to discern, decide, and have free will. Those created abilities remain. Even today, we like Eve and Adam have both the ability to decide and a decision to make.

Alma 16:9 For thus saith the scripture, Choose ye this day whom ye will serve.
In a perfect understanding of mankind's true nature, God offered humanity salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and redemption through the guidance of His Holy Spirit. In redemption, God can free sinful man from his rebellious ways to return to the fullness of his creation. When we opens our eyes to the love of God within His justice, we can join God in His mercy, which is the fullness of His love. When we recognize justice as mercy, God's mercy becomes just.    

Alma 19:94-97 
19:94 Therefore, according to justice, the plan of redemption could not be brought about, only, on conditions of repentance of men in this probationary state; yea, this preparatory state; for except it were for these conditions, mercy could not take effect the work of justice. 
19:95 Now the work of justice could not be destroyed: if so God would cease to be God. 
19:96 And thus we see that all mankind were fallen, and they were in the grasp of justice; yea, the justice of God, which consigned them forever to be cut off from his presence. 
19:97 And now the plan of mercy could not be brought about, except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also.  

As we allow the fullness of God’s purpose and His plan to guide our lives, we come to understand the fullness of justice and mercy that is God and His Gospel. Open your heart to this concept given to us by Alma, and our labor for God takes on a new and greater importance. 

In the beginning, God’s creation was perfect according to the temporal requirement of the life and the spiritual conditions of righteousness. There existed a perfect balance between the temporal and the spiritual. Righteousness was eternal. That allowed life to be immortal. Man’s rebellion destroyed the perfection of righteousness, which in turn forced the perfection of life to follow suit. Death came to both the spiritual and the temporal and a balance within creation was restored. In justice, God was able to be God.

In covenant with God, we have been blessed with the knowledge and the wherewithal to restore God’s creation to the balance that was present before man’s rebellion. We have the ability to restore the justice that makes righteousness eternal, and the mercy that gives us the ability to live within this righteousness. Like the righteousness we serve, we become immortal. We have chosen to labor with God in this purpose, but it must be done by God’s design, led by His Spirit, and guided by His Word. Only in God can justice serve mercy and mercy serve justice. Only in God can justice and mercy become one. Only through the Holy Spirit can the essence of God's truth and the fullness of His love be expressed. This is the testimony we offer the world, but any testimony is only as good as the life that is lived around it. To offer a holy testimony of truth; we must in truth be a holy people.

John 3:16-17 
3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish; but have everlasting life. 
3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

In these two verses, we are given both the concept and the principles that allow creation to be redeemed. It exposes us to both why Christ came to earth and the process by which redemption is to be presented. The promise brings truth and light, which is intended to lift mankind out of the darkness of sin and away from the judgment, it brings. It promises everything and threatens nothing. It seeks to overcome fear not create it. These two verses from John speak volumes to me of the need in the world and how I am to bring the Gospel to those in need. Christ is the doorway to God's Kingdom. Our labor is to walk with others to this door and offer them every good reason to open it and walk through.   

John 10:9-10 
10:9 I am the door; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy; I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

If I am to bring a man the Gospel, it needs to be free of any condemnation except his own. Even a hint of my displeasure in the way he lives his life taints the purpose of my labor. My labor is to testify to him of the joy possible in God. Then I must strive to live a life free of sin and full of joy that verifies the testimony given. The life I live gives authority to the testimony I offer. In fact, as a believer and a child of God, this is the most important authority I have. I can neither judge, nor heal, nor bless. I can only tell of God, give proof of His love, and create in others the willingness to seek him. I am neither justice nor mercy. I am but a voice that extols the virtue of both. If I fail to find joy in both I fail, because without justice God cannot be God, and without mercy the good news of redemption is a lie.   

Proverbs 24:32 Then I saw, and considered it well; I looked upon it, and received instruction. 

All that is free will, justice, and mercy is exposed to us in the verse from Proverbs. If I am to receive God’s mercy, I must first recognize His justice. If I am willing to recognize the sinfulness of my life, and choose the path of repentance and baptism I have accepted God’s justice. In this acceptance, I have opened my life to God’s mercy. If I refuse to gather into this light and truth, I deny His mercy and choose judgment and death. Both must be taught. Both must be accepted. Both must be chosen or redemption will be imperfect and of no value to God or man.

We make this same choice each time we are offered the chance to grow in the wisdom of God. Each time we choose to uphold God’s justice, we choose to receive His mercy. Each time we choose righteousness, we choose life. We must choose the virtue of the Spirit as just and true if we are to receive the mercy of its knowledge. To gather and become a fellowship of like mind is an act of justice in the eyes of God. We must embrace this fellowship and allow the growth it brings to be the mercy it is intended to be. God’s Priesthood is a personification of God’s justice, but we must not lay on them the duties of overseers or policemen. They are servants of the Most High just like you and I, and we must utilize them as such. In their fullness, they are the purity of directed growth, which brings to us the mercy we seek. The Church organizes the justice of God that His mercy might have full authority in the world of man. When we accept the authority of the true Church of Christ, we accept a government led by God that produces a Kingdom of common understanding, common consent, and all things common under God. We accept a classless society whose purpose is the perfecting of spiritual righteousness within the hearts of the people that their lives might be lived in the temporal perfection of God. The outcome of such an effort is a city of one heart, one mind, whose builder and maker is God. The people of this city will testify, with word and deed, of the justice of God and the joys of mercy it brings. They will be a proof that a balance can exist between justice and mercy, between righteousness and life, between obedience and joy, between the temporal and the spiritual, and between man and God. The oneness of justice and mercy in God will produce a people of one heart, one mind, one Gospel, one Kingdom. It is promised.

Genesis 9:22-23 
9:22 And this is mine everlasting covenant, that when thy posterity shall embrace the truth, and look upward, then shall Zion look downward, and all the heavens shall shake with gladness, and the earth shall tremble with joy; 
9:23 And the general assembly of the church of the firstborn shall come down out of heaven, and possess the earth, and shall have place until the end come. And this is mine everlasting covenant, which I made with thy father Enoch.

God designed redemption and brought it to mankind intact and ready to use. It is we who must institute the fullness of its nature into our own lives that others might see and appreciate all it can accomplish in the world of man. It is we who must reach out to others with this Good News. Yes, I realize that we are not all evangelist nor were we intended to be. God has people called to that very task, but we are to be the proof to every claim they make. Each of us has a mouth that can smile, say, "How are you; it's good to see you", and mean it. Each one of us has a hand that can reach out to another in need. Each of us has the choice and the ability notice our neighbor, learn their name, and reach out to them in friendship. We must strive to embody that perfect balance between the temporal and the spiritual that is so elusive in the world around us. 

Yes, each of us can strive to be the righteousness needed, but it cannot be a layer of makeup we apply for a special occasion. It must live in our heart and grow in our lives. The hard thing is, we can't make it happen. We must allow the Spirit of God to cause the seeds of virtue planted in our hearts to flourish, bloom, and bear the fruits of righteousness. It is then that, "Hi, how are you", becomes more than just a greeting. 

Open your heart to the love that is offered.
Bask in it and grow.


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