Christ’s sacrificial love was not conditional upon our qualities, our repentance, anything: he expressed his love to us while we were yet in our sins – not completing the process of forgiveness, which depends upon our response, but initiating it in a free act of mercy. This is a kind of love quite independent from the notion of justice.
“That They Might Not Suffer: The Gift of Atonement,” Dialogue 1:3 (Autumn 1966): 141.
A note about the inclusion of quotes from a few non-LDS writers in a blog devoted to the Atonement as expressed in the restored Gospel, including in scriptures and by prophets and apostles in former days and latter days:
C.S. Lewis was sometimes called “The Thirteenth Apostle,” because he had so many deep insights into the Gospel of Jesus Christ without benefit of having much, if any, exposure to the restored Gospel.
John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, died prior to The First Vision and discovered much divine truth in the absence of the restoration of complete and perfect truth. In considering Wesley’s writings, Latter-day Saints will remember that he was among the 100 great men who appeared to Wilford Woodruff and for whom President Woodruff was baptized in the St. George Temple. Wesley was one of the few in this group to be ordained a High Priest.
Wesley was amazingly prolific in speaking and writing. While some of Wesley’s expressed beliefs were clearly not correct and reflected errors common to Protestant teachings of his day, I believe the following excerpt from one of his sermons is well-expressed and in keeping with LDS doctrine on the necessity of an Atonement and both our total dependence upon the Savior and the importance of our obedience to His commandments:
4. What is then the perfection of which man is capable while he dwells in a corruptible body? It is the complying with that kind command, “My son, give me thy heart.” It is the “loving the Lord his God with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his mind.” This is the sum of Christian perfection: It is all comprised in that one word, Love. The first branch of it is the love of God: And as he that loves God loves his brother also, it is inseparably connected with the second: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself:” Thou shalt love every man as thy own soul, as Christ loved us. “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets:” These contain the whole of Christian perfection.
On Perfection, Sermon 76, (text from the 1872 edition – Thomas Jackson, editor)
Sometimes, our lives are easy and sometimes they are difficult. For those times when life feels like a big battle, I appreciate the old words of Charles Wesley, included in one of my favorite hymns. Even more importantly when I’m in a battle, trying to do what is right, feeling like I’m losing, I’m happy the Savior is on my side.
Oh, that each in the day of His coming may say,
“I have fought my way thru;
I have finished the work thou didst give me to do.”
Oh, that each from his Lord may receive the glad word:
“Well and faithfully done;
Enter into my joy and sit down on my throne;
Enter into my joy and sit down on my throne.”
Come Let Us Anew
Text by Charles Wesley
There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations–these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit–immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.
This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of the kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously–no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinners–no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment.
Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbour, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat, the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.
The Weight of Glory
I have no question that we are here now, that we were sent now, because we have everything it takes to deal with the world now. We were put through our paces premortally. That we are here now speaks to how well we did. We have it in us not only to withstand the pressures of the last days but to triumph over them.
Now, that doesn’t mean we are living up to who we are. Typically we are in need of making some degree of course corrections. To help with this, I invite you to undergo the spring cleaning to end all spring cleanings by enrolling in Integrity 101. Let me outline the coursework. First, take an inventory of your integrity by asking yourself the kind of questions I listed earlier. Look for cracks that may have started to form. Be honest with yourself about your past dishonesties. Second, for the next thirty days take time every night to assess how you did that day. Were you true to yourself and to others? Were you true to God in every situation? See if this increased effort makes a difference in what you say, how you spend your time and money, the decisions you make, and what you repent of. See if it also makes a difference in how you feel about yourself and your life.
Finally, as you become more fully aware of your strengths and weaknesses, turn to the Savior more frequently and with increasing fervor. Thank our Father for the gift of His Son and the privilege of repenting. Express your deep desire to live with integrity. And then plead for help. The Savior has the power to help you change. He has the power to help you turn weakness into strength. He has the power to make you better than you have ever been.
I know that this is true, for I have felt His redeeming and enabling power again and again and again. May we come to be more true than we have ever been before-true to ourselves, true to others, and, most important, true to God, with whom we have made sacred covenants. May we be like the sons of Helaman-who were strict to remember God day in and day out, and who were true at all times to whatsoever thing with which they had been entrusted. May we be true blue, through and through.
Sheri L. Dew
No Doubt About It
Deseret Book (2001)