Monday, September 21, 2015

Thoughts on the Atonement// Articles of Faith 3

*The following is from a talk I wrote and gave a while back. I know the Atonement is real and the Savior and our loving Heavenly Father know us and care about us more than we can even comprehend. Please keep this in mind throughout the week! Happy Monday!*

We believe that through the Atonement of Christ all Mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

It was the ultimate expression of love.
The key to peace, joy, and happiness in this life and the life to come.

The Atonement plays such a vital role in each of our lives. “(Alma 34:9).... according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish;  Bruce C Hafen said, “Christ’s Atonement is at the very core of this plan. Without his dear dear sacrifice, there would be no way home, no way to be together, and no way to be like him”

Without the Atonement the gospel is pointless. We can never become like Christ and we can never return to live with our Father in Heaven, so why try? Living the gospel. without applying the Atonement is useless. We will never be perfect on our own, we will never overcome the Natural Man without the guidance of the Spirit we can get when we have repented, and we can never truly repent without Christ’s unimaginable sacrifice of taking our and other’s pain upon him.

The Atonement encompasses so much of our life. There are 3 principles of the Atonement:
  1. Love.
    1. The Atonement is the ultimate expression of love. The Savior was willing to suffer unimaginable pain and humiliation for our, yes mine and everyone else’s in this room and in the world, salvation. If you feel like no one cares, I want each and every one of you to know that you ARE loved. I know with all my heart that there is a loving Heavenly Father who loves each and everyone of us beyond comprehension. A Father who was willing to send his Beloved Son, who had done no wrong and made no mistake, to suffer.
  2. All things unfair can be made right through the Atonement.
    1. Many things in this life are unfair. From simply being let down, to terrible shootings the age old saying “life’s not fair” rings true as ever. But why does our Father in Heaven allow this to happen to good people? Dallin H Oaks explains it best, “Our needed conversions are often achieved more readily by suffering and adversity than by comfort and tranquillity.”7 While we know that unfair things happen for a reason, it doesn’t always make it easier. The precious Sacrifice of The Savior allows us to press forward through trials and forgive those that have wronged us because our Savior has felt our pain and has payed the price for other’s mistakes. "And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people…..(12) and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities."(Alma 7:11) The Atonement allows the Savior to fully comfort us and stand beside us, carrying us when we are too weak to walk, and whispering peace into our hearts when we are worried and overcome; because he knows exactly what we are feeling. The night in Gethsemane allowed The Savior to overcome every unfair thing in this life.
  3. You can overcome the natural man through the Atonement.
    1. So what is the Natural Man? According to Mosiah 3:19, where King Benjamin is talking, “The natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam.” King Benjamin warned that in this natural, or fallen, state, each person will be an enemy to God forever “unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” The ultimate goal of our time on earth is to become more like Christ. But we can’t become like him on our own. It’s simply impossible. We are all human and imperfect beings learning and striving to be our best and we will all slip up and make mistakes at one time or another.One of my favorite scriptures, which happened to be the youth theme in 2014, states, “Come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness” (Moroni 10:32).  This scripture reiterates the fact that we are all imperfect beings that rely on Christ. We can’t do it without his help. We have to depend on the Atonement to overcome the Natural Man inside of us. While it is easy to become frustrated on our mortal journey to our lofty goal of perfection, a New Era article puts it best, "trying to become perfect all at once is like trying to climb up a mountain while riding a unicycle and juggling, Impossible.” But as we learn to apply the Atonement to our lives, day by day, minute by minute, we learn a fundamental truth taught by Quentin L Cook “The enabling power of the Atonement of Christ strengthens us to do things we could never do on our own.”

The Atonement can bring us the peace we so desperately seek in this world of turmoil and contention. Quentin L. Cook said, “The Savior is the source of true peace. Even with the trails of life,  because of The Savior’s Atonement and His grace, righteous living can be rewarded through personal peace.”

The last part of this Article of Faith is key to our Salvation. “By Obedience to laws and Ordinances.”
The Atonement is not a magic wand. It doesn’t clean up and fix everything magically. We must do our part by living Christ’s word and desiring to become clean and pure. We must desire and try our very best to live according to the teachings of the Gospel.

Linda K Burton gave an amazing analogy to The Atonement in the 2012 Conference, “A woman walking along a road fell into a pit so deep she could not climb out. No matter what she did, she could not get out by herself. The woman called for help and rejoiced when a kind passerby heard her and lowered a ladder down into the pit. This allowed her to climb out of the pit and regain her freedom”

Luckily, we don’t have to wait and wait just hoping that someone will throw down a ladder. Christ has already paid the price of buying the ladder, which allows us to climb out of our pit of sin and come unto the vast beautiful world of righteousness and salvation once we truly desire to get out. Then we must do our part by actually climbing the ladder.

I have made too many mistakes to count, do I wish I could redo parts of my life? Certainly. But do I have regrets? No. because I know that once I have repented The Atonement has made it right. I think the key is to feel sorry, make it right, repent, learn from it and move on. Don't spend valuable time regretting your mistakes. They can be made right through The Atonement. I know without a doubt that The Atonement is real. I know that our Savior loved us enough to die on the cross for us, beaten, bruised, and spit upon so we could live again with him by becoming clean of our sins.. He loved us that much. He loves us beyond comprehension. I know that The Atonement makes it possible for us to return to live with our Heavenly Father someday. I know that Christ lives and loves us no matter what. He is your best friend, your biggest cheerleader, your Comforter, and your Redeemer. He knows we are imperfect, and walks beside us, helping us become who we are destined to be and fulfilling our Divine Inheritance as sons and daughters of a living Heavenly Father. Since he has faced such devastating pain we can find peace and comfort knowing that he always stands beside us. He will lift us up and carry us through times of strife, darkness, and hurt. He is there. He loves us. He added purpose to our mortal ministry no other could. I know will all my heart the he broke the chains of death, freeing us from it's bondage. We can have peace and hope and joy and salvation. If we will just believe and accept this glorious truth! It was the ultimate expression of love. The key to peace, joy, and happiness in this life and the life to come.I am so thankful for the Savior's amazing gift to us.

In the name of Jesus Christ Amen,

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