Journey through the Book of Mormon: 2 Nephi 2 (Free According to the Flesh)

26. 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.

 27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and allthings are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.

 28 And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit;

 29 And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom.

These are some of the most powerful and profound verses in the Book of Mormon and they are a beautiful crescendo to Lehi’s sermon on agency and free will. As Lehi has already expressed, if there had not been a savior, there would not truly have been free agency. We could make choices alright, but all of our choices would ultimately only lead to eternal damnation and suffering. The fall would seize us in its grip and we would all ultimately stand separate and apart from God forever. Our actions could not avail us. Therefore, it is only because we have a redeemer that we can truly speak of being free.

Because Christ came and died for us, we are free to choose between his matchless gift of life, or to choose the captivity and death offered by Satan. Satan wants us to be miserable, even as God wants our ever lasting happiness. Indeed, the will of Christ through the holy Ghost is to help qualify us for eternal life. Instead, the will of Satan through his evil spirit is to bind us and and bring us to hell. Christ wants our joy and freedom, Satan wants our misery and captivity.

As Lehi makes clear, these two forces are polar opposites. We can not accept both at the same time. We cannot have the blessings of Christ when we are dominated by the will of the devil. We must utterly and completely reject the devil, in order to have the full power of Christ in our life. For Satan’s influence is destructive to our happiness and destructive to our ability to draw close to God. And it is only the name of Christ that can full allow us to rebuke the devil and be free of his power.

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