3 For they are carnal and devilish, and the devil has power over them; yea, even that old serpent that did beguile our first parents, which was the cause of their fall; which was the cause of all mankind becoming carnal, sensual, devilish, knowing evil from good, subjecting themselves to the devil.
4 Thus all mankind were lost; and behold, they would have been endlessly lost were it not that God redeemed his people from their lost and fallen state.
5 But remember that he that persists in his own carnal nature, and goes on in the ways of sin and rebellion against God, remaineth in his fallen state and the devil hath all power over him. Therefore he is as though there was no redemption made, being an enemy to God; and also is the devil an enemy to God.
Two things must happen for us to be saved:
- God must redeem us.
- We must accept His redemption.
The good news of the gospel is that God has done His part. Jesus Christ came into the world, lived a sinless life, and then paid the price for all of our sins so that we can overcome our carnal nature and qualify to return to God’s presence. Because He has done this, the question now is whether we will accept the gift He has given us. Will we submit our will to His and allow Him to redeem us from our “lost and fallen state?”
As Abinadi teaches in the passage above, if we are unwilling to accept the gift, it is as though the gift had never been given. Put more starkly, the incomprehensible suffering endured by the Savior on our behalf will have been wasted if we fail to accept the results of that suffering and be changed by it.
Because of God’s redemption, we are all subject to two influences: the negative propensities associated with our mortal, physical bodies, and the divine desires associated with our spiritual nature. Ultimately, each of us must choose which of those influences we will allow to dominate our lives.
Elder David A. Bednar has taught:
As sons and daughters of God, we have inherited divine capacities from Him. But we presently live in a fallen world. The very elements out of which our bodies were created are by nature fallen and ever subject to the pull of sin, corruption, and death. Consequently, the Fall of Adam and its spiritual and temporal consequences affect us most directly through our physical bodies. And yet we are dual beings, for our spirit that is the eternal part of us is tabernacled in a physical body that is subject to the Fall….
The precise nature of the test of mortality, then, can be summarized in the following question: Will I respond to the inclinations of the natural man, or will I yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit and put off the natural man and become a saint through the Atonement of Christ the Lord (see Mosiah 3:19)? That is the test. Every appetite, desire, propensity, and impulse of the natural man may be overcome by and through the Atonement of Jesus Christ (“We Believe in Being Chaste,” General Conference, April 2013).
Today, I will remember that God has given me a way to overcome every negative propensity I experience as part of this mortal life. I will choose to respond to my spiritual inclinations, not the natural inclinations associated with my fallen state. I will seek to attune my mind to the Spirit of the Lord, knowing that God can strengthen me to be better than I naturally am if I am willing to submit myself to Him and receive His redemptive power.