The Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is the heart and core and center of revealed religion.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie Christ and the Creation

October 23, 2017

Alma, Enabling Power, Paul, Repentance

Comments Off on Displacing Bad With Good

In one test of creativity, subjects are faced with the following problem: A ping pong ball has fallen to the bottom of a tube that stands, in a vertical position, fastened permanently to the floor. Some participants try, unsuccessfully, to reach into the tube and retrieve the ball with tools that are provided. The problem is that some tools are not long enough to reach the ball, while others are too wide to fit into the tube. Some subjects eventually give up in exasperation, but others discover a creative solution, realizing that water can be poured into the tube. The water displaces the air in the tube, and the ball pops to the surface, rising higher each time water is poured in. Once water fills the tube, the ball is easily retrieved.

In the same way, one of the best methods to remove something from our lives is to displace it with something else. . . . we can become so caught up in a purpose for good that we simply have less time and energy to get wrapped up in the bad.

Alma the Younger and Paul the apostle both utilized this principle. At one point, each had strong desires to tear down the Church, then repented. In their repentance, they permanently replaced bad with good. It would be absurd to imagine that after they were converted they had to resolve each morning, “I just have to resist the temptation to preach against Christ today.” Instead, they had become captivated and eager to build up the Church and had thrown themselves completely into the cause of Christ.

. . . .

Certainly it is true that good can displace the bad in our lives. When we are deeply involved in a positive purpose, our souls, and even our bodies it seems, resonate with the power and energy of God. Just as precious ore that has been purged of imperfections is more pure, we are more fully ourselves when we are in the midst of doing good rather than evil. In essence, the process of gaining more self-control and increasing in righteousness is not one of changing from who we are. Rather, we are changing to who we are. Changing is a process of becoming more fully ourselves.

A. Dean Byrd and Mark D. Chamberlain

Willpower Is Not Enough, (1995, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City)

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June 21, 2017

Justification, New Testament, Paul

Comments Off on He Had by Himself Purged Our Sins

1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Hebrews 1:1-3

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June 11, 2017

Faith, Grace, Justification, Paul, Sin

Comments Off on Grace – Part 4 – All Have Sinned

23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Romans 3:23-28

Note that when Paul speaks of the law in verse 28, he is referring to the Law of Moses and the term, “without” in the original Greek is “apart from” or “without intervention of”.

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December 17, 2016

Bible, Paul, Renewal

Comments Off on If Any Man be in Christ, He is a New Creature

14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:

15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.

17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

2 Corinthians 5:14-21

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July 17, 2016

General Authorities, McConkie, Mediator, Paul

Comments Off on If There Had Been No Atonement – 2

If there had been no atonement, the law of Moses, standing alone, would have been “the administration of death.” In this connection Paul says: “Moses . . . was ordained by the hand of angels to be a mediator of this first covenant, (the law). Now this mediator was not a mediator of the new covenant; but there is one mediator of the new covenant, who is Christ, as it is written in the law concerning the promises made to Abraham and his seed. Now Christ is the mediator of life; for this is the promise which God made unto Abraham.” (JST, Galatians 3:19-20.)

Those who turn to the Mediator of life become heirs of eternal salvation. Paul invites men to come unto Christ and accept the ministry of mediation: “Come unto the knowledge of the truth which is in Christ Jesus, who is the Only Begotten Son of God, and ordained to be a Mediator between God and man; who is One God, and hath power over all men. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all.” (JST, 1 Timothy 2:4-6.)

Lehi says: “Men are free according to the flesh. . . . They are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil. Accordingly, Lehi issues this prophetic invitation: “Look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit.” (2 Nephi 2:27-28.) All those who heed the call and live the law become “just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood.” (D&C 76:69.)

Elder Bruce R. McConkie
A New Witness for the Articles of Faith
Deseret Book (1985)

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June 29, 2016

General Authorities, Maxwell, Paul, Repentance, Resurrection

Comments Off on Christ’s Atonement Fits Sins of All Sizes

Jesus’ glorious Atonement is the central act in all of human history! It provides the universal Resurrection; it makes our personal repentance and forgiveness possible. Since all of us “have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), the need for repentance is universal. And mercifully, Christ’s Atonement fits sins of all sizes – whether the smaller sins of omission or major transgressions. Hence, when we turn away from our sins, the required arc of that turning varies from person to person, but it is necessary for all.

The Greek word of which repentance is the English translation “denotes a change of mind, i.e., a fresh view about God, about oneself, and about the world” (Bible Dictionary, “Repentance,” 760). This means we are to change our thoughts and then behavior until we are turned away from our sins and are aligned with God’s commandments. This change of mind means that we are actually progressing toward what Paul called “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16). Repentance is thus a continuing process in which each of us needs to draw on the Atonement for real relief, real forgiveness, and real progress.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell
Testifying of the Great and Glorious Atonement“, Ensign, Oct. 2001, 10
From a Church satellite broadcast on conversion and retention given at the Provo Missionary Training Center on 29 August 1999.

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May 23, 2016

Eternal Life, Exaltation, General Authorities, General Conference, Hope, Immortality, Kimball, Paul, Resurrection

Comments Off on Today is just a grain of sand in the Sahara of eternity

Today is just a grain of sand in the Sahara of eternity. We have also a hope in Christ for the eternity that lies ahead; otherwise, as Paul said, we would be “of all men most miserable” (1 Cor. 15:19).

How great would be our sorrow – and justly so – if there were no resurrection! How miserable we would be if there were no hope of life eternal! If our hope of salvation and eternal reward should fade away, we would certainly be more miserable than those who never had such an expectancy.

“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Cor. 15:20).

Now the effects of his resurrection shall pass upon all men, “for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22).

Now “as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (1 Cor. 15:49).

Now provision has been made whereby “this corruptible shall … put on incorruption, and this mortal shall … put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor. 15:54).

. . . .

There is no victory in the grave, for death is replaced with life. Immortality is a free gift for all men through the atoning ransom paid by the Son of God.

But, Paul says, “The sting of death is sin,” meaning that if men die in their sins, they will suffer the prescribed penalty and gain a lesser glory in the realms ahead (1 Cor. 15:56).

“But thanks be to God,” the ancient apostle continues, “which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57).

. . . .

We have an eternal hope in Christ. We know this life is given us to prepare for eternity, “and that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy” (D&C 130:2).

We believe, and it is our testimony, and we proclaim it to the world “that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent” (Mosiah 3:17).

We know, and it is our testimony, and we also proclaim it to the world that to be saved men must “believe that salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent” (Mosiah 3:18).

 

President Spencer W. Kimball
An Eternal Hope in Christ“, Ensign, Nov. 1978, 71

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November 2, 2015

Alma, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Hope, Lyon, Moroni, Paul

Comments Off on Hope springs from knowledge that mankind is saved through the Atonement

The concept of hope plays a vital role in Latter-day Saint thought. Firmly centered in Christ and his resurrection, it is the “hope of eternal life” (Titus 1:2) repeatedly alluded to by Paul. It is the opposite of the despair found among those who are “without Christ, having no hope, and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12). As the Book of Mormon prophet Moroni writes, “If ye have no hope, ye must needs be in despair” (Moro. 10:22). For those, however, who accept Christ’s Atonement and resurrection, there comes a “brightness of hope” (2 Ne. 31:20) through which all who believe in God “might with surety hope for a better world” (Ether 12:4).

. . . .

Regardless of their form, the individual variations of meaning all center on the confidence or trust in God that springs from knowledge that mankind is saved through the Atonement (“for we are saved by hope,” Rom. 8:15). Hence, hope is inseparably connected with faith. Book of Mormon passages add insight to New Testament teachings by expanding on this interactive relationship: “How is it that ye can attain unto faith, save ye shall have hope?” (Moro. 7:40); “hope cometh of faith” (Ether 12:4); “without faith there cannot be any hope” (Moro. 7:42).

In combination with faith, hope leads to knowledge of the truth about Jesus Christ (“if ye have faith, ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true” [Alma 32:21]). It is also an essential attitude for individual salvation (“man must hope, or he cannot receive an inheritance in the place which thou hast prepared” [Ether 12:32]).

James K. Lyon
Hope, The Encyclopedia of Mormonism

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November 2, 2015

Eternal Life, Exaltation, General Authorities, General Conference, Hope, Immortality, Kimball, Paul, Resurrection

Comments Off on Today is just a grain of sand in the Sahara of eternity

Today is just a grain of sand in the Sahara of eternity. We have also a hope in Christ for the eternity that lies ahead; otherwise, as Paul said, we would be “of all men most miserable” (1 Cor. 15:19).

How great would be our sorrow – and justly so – if there were no resurrection! How miserable we would be if there were no hope of life eternal! If our hope of salvation and eternal reward should fade away, we would certainly be more miserable than those who never had such an expectancy.

“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Cor. 15:20).

Now the effects of his resurrection shall pass upon all men, “for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22).

Now “as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (1 Cor. 15:49).

Now provision has been made whereby “this corruptible shall … put on incorruption, and this mortal shall … put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor. 15:54).

. . . .

There is no victory in the grave, for death is replaced with life. Immortality is a free gift for all men through the atoning ransom paid by the Son of God.

But, Paul says, “The sting of death is sin,” meaning that if men die in their sins, they will suffer the prescribed penalty and gain a lesser glory in the realms ahead (1 Cor. 15:56).

“But thanks be to God,” the ancient apostle continues, “which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57).

. . . .

We have an eternal hope in Christ. We know this life is given us to prepare for eternity, “and that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy” (D&C 130:2).

We believe, and it is our testimony, and we proclaim it to the world “that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent” (Mosiah 3:17).

We know, and it is our testimony, and we also proclaim it to the world that to be saved men must “believe that salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent” (Mosiah 3:18).

President Spencer W. Kimball
An Eternal Hope in Christ“, Ensign, Nov. 1978, 71

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November 15, 2013

Enabling Power, Fall, Marriage, Paul, Thomas

Comments Off on We Do Atonement Work When We Marry and Work at That Marriage

Thus, we further the Savior’s work of atonement when we live together in a state of at-one-ment. We do atonement work when we marry and work at that marriage. Without the commitment to marriage, the Lord’s atoning work could not go forward on the earth. The purposes of creation would have been wasted.

Eternal marriage, after all, is both a type and a function of at-one-ment. It is a type in that it constitutes two separate, fallen beings-a man and a woman-brought into oneness with each other and with God through the grace and power of Jesus Christ. It is a function of atonement in that, through the divine enabling power of the Atonement, a man and woman make their marriage eternal.

The Savior said, “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:4-6; emphasis added.)

The word cleave is an atonement word that means “to cling to closely, tightly.” Paul wrote to the Corinthians, countering currents of asceticism already gaining momentum in the Church: “Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all . . . [are] of God.” (1 Corinthians 11:11-12.) Conversely, when we put relationships asunder, we violate this spirit of at-one-ment.

M. Catherine Thomas
The Restoration of the Doctrines of Marriage and Atonement
Women and Christ: Living the Abundant Life: Talks Selected from the 1992 Women’s Conference
Sponsored by Brigham Young University and the Relief Society
Edited by Dawn Hall Anderson, Susette Fletcher Green, and Marie Cornwall
Deseret Book Company (1993)
(paragraph breaks added to enhance online readibility)