The angels declared from the heavens “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men”.
Peace on earth is the intention of the gospel.
Joy is the intention of the gospel.
Zion is the intention of the gospel.
As Joseph Smith taught “Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God”.
And that is the great matter. That peace which passeth all understanding is our end, the glad tidings of exceeding great joy will be ours, the city sought by holy men of the past can be built by us, but all on condition that we pursue the path that leads to them.
But there is something interesting in Joseph Smith’s words that we must not ignore if we are to gain all these. We may nod in agreement to ourselves as we read his teaching, but we need to consider his words with care.
Do we realize that to lay claim to our prizes requires “holiness” on our part? Do we even believe holiness is something we can acquire as we press forward along the path and deny ourselves of all ungodlinenss?
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard someone take exception to the idea that we can keep all the commandments. But according to Joseph Smith, “keeping all the commandments of God” is part of the path required for us if we are to obtain eternal happiness.
If we want to obtain the proffered peace, we must obtain it in the way God has set forth. We can obtain some measure of peace by offering only a measure of obedience, but it will never even approach that peace which passeth all understanding until our hearts are fully committed and we keep all the commandments of God.
We can obtain some measure of joy by denying ourselves of only some ungodliness. But we cannot offer holiness until we deny ourselves of all ungodliness and thereby prepare ourselves as fit temples for the Holy Ghost. Then Christ’s grace is sufficient for us. His grace will not be sufficient for us without that, for the scriptures say:
Moroni 10:32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ