God So Loved the World—Hinckley
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“God So Loved the World—Hinckley,” New Era, Apr. 1983, 48–49

God So Loved the World

Live today as if you were going to live forever, for you surely shall.

I bring to you the question given the shouting mob by Pilate 2,000 years ago, “What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?” I ask you, “What shall you do with Jesus which is called Christ?”

When I think of the Savior, I think of the words of Matthew, Mark, and Luke but particularly the words of John:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him: and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:1–4).

Here is something spoken of more than a babe in a manger; here is declared the Creator of all that is good and beautiful. I have looked at majestic mountains rising against a blue sky and thought of Jesus, the Creator of heaven and earth. I have stood on a spit of sand in the Pacific and watched the dawn rise like thunder—a ball of gold surrounded by clouds of pink and white and purple—and thought of Jesus, the Word by whom all things were made and without whom was not anything made that was made. I have seen a beautiful child—many of them—bright-eyed, innocent, clean, and trusting, and marveled at the majesty and miracle of creation. What then shall you do with Jesus that is called Christ?

This earth is his creation. When we make it ugly, we offend him. Our bodies are the work of our Creator. When we abuse them, we abuse him. “Know ye not that ye are the temples of God?”

As certainly as Christ came into the world, lived among men, laid down his life, and became the first fruits of them that slept, so shall all men rise from the grave. Death may and will come, but death has been robbed of its sting, and the grave of its victory. “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (John 11:25–26).

I once stood before the bier of a young man whose life had been bright with hope and promise. He had been an athlete in his high school and a student for one year at Brigham Young University. He was a friendly, affable, brilliant young man. He had gone into the mission field. He and his companion were riding down the highway when a car, coming from the opposite direction, moved into their lane and crashed head-on into them. He died in the hospital an hour later. As I stood there at the pulpit at his funeral and looked into the faces of his father and his mother, there came into my heart a conviction that I had never before felt with such assurance. I knew with certainty, as I looked across that casket, that he had not died but had merely been transferred to another field of labor to go forward with his mission so well begun here.

What shall you do with Jesus which is called Christ? Live today as if you were going to live forever, for you surely shall. Live with the conviction that whatsoever principle of intelligence and beauty and truth and goodness you attain unto in this life, it shall rise with you in the Resurrection. Live with the certain knowledge that some day “we shall be brought to stand before God, knowing even as we know now, and have a bright recollection of all our guilt” (Alma 11:43).

“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). How poor indeed would be our lives without the influence of his teachings and his matchless example. The lessons of the turning of the other cheek, going the second mile, the return of the prodigal, and scores of others have somehow filtered down to become the catalyst to bring kindness and mercy out of man’s apparently natural inclination toward inhumanity to man.

He whose resurrection we commemorate this season is more than the symbol of a holiday. He is the Son of God, the Creator of the earth, the Jehovah of the Old Testament, the fulfillment of the law, the Redeemer of mankind, the King of Kings, the Prince of Peace.

“Now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God” (D&C 76:22–24).

To which testimony I add my own. Christ lives! He is the Savior. By following him, we can return to our Father and enjoy eternal life.

Consoling the Oppressed, by Carl Bloch. Original at the Chapel of Frederiksborg Castle, Denmark. Used by permission of the Frederiksborgmuseum.