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Heirs of God and Joint-Heirs with Christ

[This entry consists of two parts: Heirs of God and Joint-Heirs with Christ. The first part explains that by obedience to the commandments of God a person can become an heir of God. The second part emphasizes that the gospel of Jesus Christ also provides the way for one to become a joint-heir with Jesus Christ, and obtain the special inheritance of the Church of the Firstborn.]

by Joseph Grant Stevenson

Heirs of God

The doctrine of becoming an heir of God through the gospel of Jesus Christ was noted by Paul (Rom. 8:14-17; Gal. 3:26-29; 4:1-7; see also Calling and Election; Church of the Firstborn). In this connection, THE CHURCH of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints teaches that all humans are spirit sons and daughters of God, with the potential of inheriting all that the Father has (D&C 84:33-38). Every member of the human family is a child of God. However, through obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ, including having faith, love, charity, and participating in temple ordinances and sealings, men and women can become heirs of God in a special way. Such persons are called the "children of Christ, his sons and his daughters," being "spiritually begotten" by him (Mosiah 5:7). They will be exalted in the Celestial Kingdom. Members of the Church make several covenants with God, beginning with baptism and continuing through the temple Endowment and marriage, by which they promise to obey God's commandments and to consecrate to him all that they possess in order to become heirs through Christ in the Father's kingdom. Such may eventually be exalted by God and be given many divine powers, including eternal increase.

Promises of inheritance are extended also to those who die without a knowledge of the gospel, for they shall have opportunity in the spirit world to hear the message of redemption, and have the essential ordinances of the gospel performed in their behalf in the temples of the Church.

[See also Salvation of the Dead.]

Joint-Heirs With Christ

by N. Gaylon Hopkins

Joint-heirs with Christ identifies those persons who attain the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom. Latter-day Saints regard Jesus Christ as the firstborn spirit child of God the Father and the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh. Because of this priority, he is the natural heir of the Father. Through strict obedience to the Father's will, progressing from grace to grace by obeying the gospel and its ordinances and making the infinite Atonement, Jesus became the Savior of all mankind and also heir to all that the Father has. Those who accept Jesus Christ as their redeemer, repent of their sins, obey the ordinances of the gospel, and live in willing obedience with the Holy Spirit as their guide, can also become heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. In the eternities, they can inherit the same truth, power, wisdom, glory, and exaltation possessed by God the Father and by the Son (see D&C 84:38).

The scriptures set forth the Father's Plan of Salvation for becoming joint-heirs with Christ. This includes taking the name of Christ upon oneself and living a Christlike life. Obeying the gospel means keeping the ordinances and ceremonies as well as living the moral law. Having started on the course of salvation, each individual is expected to continue to serve the Lord with a pure heart to the end of the mortal life. Through the grace of Jesus Christ and the blood that he shed, the willing and obedient are redeemed and sanctified.

All people are spirit children of God and recipients of his love, but only through accepting and living the gospel of Jesus Christ are individuals born again, spiritually begotten, and adopted into the family of God in a special relationship as the "sons and daughters" of Christ (Mosiah 5:7; Gal. 4:5-7; Rom. 8:14-17; see also Born of God; Law of Adoption). Through the gospel, one becomes a joint-heir with Christ, a member of the Church of the Firstborn, and a partaker of the fulness of God's glory.

(See Deification; Biblical Support for Deification; Eternal Increase; Exaltation; Eternal Life; Basic Beliefs home page; Teachings About the Afterlife home page.)

Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 2, Heirs

Copyright 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company

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