27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things 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.
(2 Nephi 2:27-29)
A mediator is a person who resolves a conflict between two other people. As Lehi teaches his sons in this passage, Jesus Christ is the ultimate Mediator, resolving what appears to be the unresolvable conflict: the gap between our sinful lives and God’s perfect justice. Jesus said, “No man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:16). He meant that we aren’t capable of meeting our Heavenly Father’s standard for exaltation on our own. Only through His Atonement can we be purified and sanctified–changed into a person who can meet the standard. So unlike an ordinary mediator, who might look for common ground between the parties, Jesus lifts us up to meet a standard which God sets, enabling us to become infinitely better than we could have become without His help.
Paul wrote to Timothy, “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:5). Unlike a normal mediator, who is objective and neutral, Jesus put Himself on the line, suffering punishment for sins He did not commit, paying personally for our deficiencies in order to close the gap between what we are and what we must be to return to God.
As Lehi teaches above, if we look to Jesus Christ and keep His commandments, we are choosing liberty and eternal life. This is not because we’ve earned it, but because we have engaged the only One who is capable of making those blessings available to us. On the other hand, if we choose to follow “the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein,” we reject the help of our Mediator and become subject to the devil, who wants to destroy our freedom and make us miserable. Each of us must choose, but it is important to understand the choice and its eternal consequences.
Today, I will “look to the great Mediator.” I will be grateful for an intermediary who is not neutral and objective, but rather cares very much about my welfare. I will also be grateful that He is not merely seeking an adequate compromise but rather a perfect outcome.