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What Is the Plan of Salvation?


The doctrine of salvation is repeated often in the Bible: “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all that obey him” (Hebrews 5:9).

That verse from Hebrews is one of hundreds in the Bible that explicitly states Jesus is the Savior of this world. How an individual is saved is one of the most discussed topics among different Christian faiths, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe in a specific plan of salvation, as laid out in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants (a book of revelations and commandments given to Joseph Smith that among other things, aided in the establishing of the Church in the 1830s). Central to that plan is Jesus and His sacrifice for us to allow us to be free if we choose to follow him.

Let’s look at what the plan of salvation means for Church members.

What is God's plan?

At its most basic level, the plan of salvation is the process God created to help you return to become more like Him and to live with Him for eternity. Heavenly Father requires us to choose Him and follow the example of Jesus Christ by living His commandments. To qualify for this blessing of living forever in God’s presence, you have to show that you will live by His commandments and accept Jesus as your Savior.

That’s why you’re here on earth. You’re demonstrating to God your willingness to follow His commandments and your desire to gain the blessing of eternal life which allows God to save you. He stated, “If you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 14:7).

Think about the many gifts God has given you—the blessings of your family, your job, your home, and even the gift of life itself. When you consider these things, you can see that God has given you some incredible, awe-inspiring gifts. And the greatest gift is yet to come! Eternal life eclipses all other things.

That is the plan of salvation at its basic level. It is a plan to help you gain the greatest blessings that God offers.

How does it work?

The plan of salvation began well before you came to this earth. Before you lived here, you lived with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. You lived as a spirit, without a physical body. As God once told Jeremiah “Before I formed thee in the belly I knee thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5).

As you lived with God, you desired to have a physical body, as well as knowledge and glory to become just like Him. However, God recognizes that none of us are perfect. We make mistakes and sin. Lovingly, Jesus agreed to sacrifice himself for us so that we could obtain forgiveness from God for our sins.

Through the power of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice and his grace we are able to overcome death and sin. Jesus asks us to follow the commandments and his example.

The Book of Mormon prophet Alma spoke about this during a discourse he gave on the Fall of Adam: “Now, we see that the man had become as God, knowing good and evil; . . . and thus we see, that there was a time granted unto man to repent, yea, a probationary time, a time to repent and serve God” (Alma 42:3–4).

As we are here on earth, we have the opportunity to choose to follow God’s plan for us so that we can return to live with Him forever.