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

By , on November 2, 2015

Bednar, Enabling Power, Integrity, McConkie


When he was President of BYU-Idaho, Elder David A. Bednar spoke of one important way in which we need to apply the enabling power of the Atonement:

Becoming men and women of integrity and honesty does not occur quickly or all at once, nor is it merely a matter of greater personal discipline. It is a change of disposition, a change of heart. And this gradual change of heart is one that the Lord accomplishes within us, through the power of His Spirit, in a line-upon-line fashion. For example, in Philippians 2:12, Paul encourages the Saints to “. . . work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” But how are we to do that? Note the answer that follows in verse thirteen: “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” That is, we give ourselves to the Lord and choose to be changed. He is working on us and in us. Brothers and sisters, it is vitally important for all of us to remember that becoming men and women of integrity and honesty is not simply a matter of more personal determination, more grit, and more willpower; rather, it is accomplished through the enabling power of the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Closely associated with becoming men and women of integrity and honesty is reaching a point where we no longer are driven or directed by rules; instead, we learn to govern our lives by principle. To be sure, we keep the rules; but we also begin to ask ourselves, “What is the principle involved here?” Such a person becomes less dependent upon external scaffolding and structure and more dependent upon quiet and ongoing divine direction. As the Prophet Joseph Smith explained, “I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves” (Teachings of Joseph Smith, eds. Larry E. Dahl and Donald Q. Cannon, Bookcraft, 1997, p. 32).

We learn from the teachings of Elder Bruce R. McConkie that:

Ethical principles are born of doctrinal concepts. To say “We believe in being honest” is to testify that because we believe in Christ and his saving truths, we automatically accept honesty as a divine standard to which every true believer must conform. And so it is with all true principles; they inhere in, are part of, and grow out of the saving truths. . . .

In teaching the gospel, it is far less effective to say “Be honest, for honesty is the best policy,” and then to reason from a social standpoint why this is so, than to link honesty with the gospel out of which it grows by teaching: “Wo unto the liar, for he shall be thrust down to hell” (2 Nephi 9:34). It is only when gospel ethics are tied to gospel doctrines that they rest on a sure and enduring foundation and gain full operation in the lives of the saints (Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, Salt Lake City, Deseret Book, 1985, pp. 699-700).

Elder David A. Bednar

I Will Not Remove Mine Integrity From Me (Job 27:5), Brigham Young University–Idaho Devotional, September 10, 2002

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1 Comment to “To Will and to Do of His Good Pleasure”

  1. […] for Atonement.  Elder Bednar has begun with Grace in his ground-breaking talks (discussed here and here) about the enabling power of the […]