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

June 11, 2017

Faith, Grace, Justification, Paul, Sin

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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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April 20, 2017

Fundamental Principles, General Authorities, General Conference, Gethsemane, Repentance, Sin, Taylor

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Jesus had to take away sin by the sacrifice of himself…. And as he in his own person bore the sins of all, and atoned for them by the sacrifice of himself, so there came upon him the weight and agony of ages and generations, the indescribable agony consequent upon this great sacrificial atonement wherein he bore the sins of the world, and suffered in his own person the consequences of an eternal law of God broken by man. Hence his profound grief, his indescribable anguish, his overpowering torture, all experienced in the submission to the eternal fiat of Jehovah and the requirements of an inexorable law.

The suffering of the Son of God was not simply the suffering of personal death; for in assuming the position that he did in making an atonement for the sins of the world he bore the weight, the responsibility, and the burden of the sins of all men, which, to us, is incomprehensible.

Groaning beneath this concentrated load, this intense, incomprehensible pressure, this terrible exaction of Divine Justice, from which feeble humanity shrank, and through the agony thus experienced sweating great drops of blood, He was led to exclaim, ‘Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.’ He had wrestled with the superincumbent load in the wilderness, He had struggled against the powers of darkness that had been let loose upon him there; placed below all things, His mind surcharged with agony and pain, lonely and apparently helpless and forsaken, in his agony the blood oozed from His pores.

 

President John Taylor
The Mediation and Atonement, Page 149-150

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June 2, 2016

Sin, Young

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Brother Brigham loves to make some of his points by beginning with a statement contrary to the common beliefs of the Saints in his day.

“Do not imagine that I am in the least finding fault with the Devil. I would not bring a railing accusation against him, for he is fulfilling his office and calling manfully; he is more faithful in his calling than are many of the people. God is not yet going to destroy wickedness from the earth. How frequently we hear it reiterated from the pulpit that he is going to destroy all wickedness. No such thing. He will destroy the power of sin. The work the Savior has on hand is to reduce the power of the Devil to perfect subjection; and when he has destroyed death and him that has the power of it, pertaining to this world, then he will deliver up the kingdom spotless to the Father.”

Brigham Young

Journal of Discourses 9:108

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November 2, 2015

C.S. Lewis, Light of Christ, Repentance, Sin

Comments Off on We have failed to practice ourselves the kind of behavior we expect from other people

C.S. Lewis didn’t know the term, “the light of Christ,” but he understood the concept very well. When we sin, we sin against light and truth. Depending upon our knowledge, we may enjoy a greater or lesser light, but all who are accountable receive some light.  Because we receive light, we are accountable for our actions.  We know when we are acting according to that light or contrary to it.

“The Light of Christ is the divine energy, power, or influence that proceeds from God through Christ and gives life and light to all things. The Light of Christ influences people for good and prepares them to receive the Holy Ghost. One manifestation of the Light of Christ is what we call a conscience.” (“Light of Christ,” Gospel Study, Topics, lds.org)

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  Acting contrary to the light, doing wrong, is a sin that separates us from Christ and makes us imperfect.  Sin requires repentance so Christ’s Atonement can cleanse us and bring us back to the sinless and perfect presence of Himself and that of His Father.

On to Brother Lewis:

Every one has heard people quarreling. Sometimes it sounds funny and sometimes it sounds merely unpleasant; but however it sounds, I believe we can learn something very important from listening to the kinds of things they say. They say things like this: “How’d you like it if anyone did the same to you?”–“That’s my seat, I was there first”–“Leave him alone, he isn’t doing you any harm”–“Why should you shove in first?”–“Give me a bit of your orange, I gave you a bit of mine”–“Come on, you promised.” People say things like that every day, educated people as well as uneducated, and children as well as grown-ups.

Now what interests me about all these remarks is that the man who makes them is not merely saying that the other man’s behavior does not happen to please him. He is appealing to some kind of standard of behavior which he expects the other man to know about. And the other man very seldom replies: “To hell with your standard.”

Nearly always he tries to make out that what he has been doing does not really go against the standard, or that if it does there is some special excuse. He pretends there is some special reason in this particular case why the person who took the seat first should not keep it, or that things were quite different when he was given the bit of orange, or that some thing has turned up which lets him off keeping his promise.

It looks, in fact, very much as if both parties had in mind some kind of Law or Rule of fair play or decent behavior or morality or whatever you like to call it, about which they really agreed. And they have. If they had not, they might, of course, fight like animals, but they could not quarrel in the human sense of the word.

Quarreling means trying to show that the other man is in the wrong. And there would be no sense in trying to do that unless you and he had some sort of agreement as to what Right and Wrong are; just as there would be no sense in saying that a footballer had committed a foul unless there was some agreement about the rules of football.

Now this Law or Rule about Right and Wrong used to be called the Law of Nature. Nowadays, when we talk of the “laws of nature” we usually mean things like gravitation, or heredity, or the laws of chemistry. But when the older thinkers called the Law of Right and Wrong “the Law of Nature,” they really meant the Law of Human Nature. The idea was that, just as all bodies are governed by the law of gravitation and organisms by biological laws, so the creature called man also had his law–with this great difference, that a body could not choose whether it obeyed the law of gravitation or not, but a man could choose either to obey the Law of Human Nature or to disobey it.

. . . .

It seems, then, we are forced to believe in a real Right and Wrong. People may be sometimes mistaken about them, just as people sometimes get their sums wrong; but they are not a matter of mere taste and opinion any more than the multiplication table.

Now if we are agreed about that, I go on to my next point, which is this. None of us are really keeping the Law of Nature. If there are any exceptions among you, I apologize to them. They had much better read some other work, for nothing I am going to say concerns them. And now, turning to the ordinary human beings who are left:

I hope you will not misunderstand what I am going to say. I am not preaching, and Heaven knows I do not pretend to be better than anyone else. I am only trying to call attention to a fact; the fact that this year, or this month, or, more likely, this very day, we have failed to practice ourselves the kind of behavior we expect from other people.

There may be all sorts of excuses for us. That time you were so unfair to the children was when you were very tired. That slightly shady business about the money–the one you have almost forgotten-came when you were very hard up. And what you promised to do for old So-and-so and have never done–well, you never would have promised if you had known how frightfully busy you were going to be. And as for your behavior to your wife (or husband) or sister (or brother) if I knew how irritating they could be, I would not wonder at it–and who the dickens am I, anyway?

I am just the same. That is to say, I do not succeed in keeping the Law of Nature very well, and the moment anyone tells me I am not keeping it, there starts up in my mind a string of excuses as long as your arm. The question at the moment is not whether they are good excuses. The point is that they are one more proof of how deeply, whether we like it or not, we believe in the Law of Nature. If we do not believe in decent behavior, why should we be so anxious to make excuses for not having behaved decently?

The truth is, we believe in decency so much–we feel the Rule of Law pressing on us so–that we cannot bear to face the fact that we are breaking it, and consequently we try to shift the responsibility. For you notice that it is only for our bad behavior that we find all these explanations. It is only our bad temper that we put down to being tired or worried or hungry; we put our good temper down to ourselves.

These, then, are the two points I wanted to make. First, that human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it. Secondly, that they do not in fact behave in that way. They know the Law of Nature; they break it. These two facts are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in.

C.S. Lewis
Mere Christianity, Book 1
(paragraph breaks inserted to enhance online readability)

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November 2, 2015

Discipleship, General Authorities, General Conference, Maxwell, Sin

Comments Off on Loose Gravel Slows Discipleship, Too

Jesus’ instructions concerning discipleship involve both substance and sequence: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23; emphasis added). Elsewhere, Moroni declared the need for us to deny ourselves “all ungodliness” (Moro. 10:32), thus including both large and small sins. While boulders surely block our way, loose gravel slows discipleship, too. Even a small stone can become a stumbling block.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell
Deny Yourselves of All Ungodliness, General Conference, April, 1995

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