I got to give another talk in church today. It was “invite a friend Sunday” so our talks were geared towards those who might not be familiar with our church. Ta daaa, here it is if you couldn’t get it live:
Have you ever tried to complete a crossword puzzle- or for those of you who prefer numbers to words- a sudoku grid with a pen? Have you ever typed an essay without once hitting the delete button? Remember “do overs” in elementary school when you didn’t get it right the first try? Or maybe for some of us it’s a little more recent than elementary school. Can you imagine going through life without any way to correct our mistakes? What a drag that would be! How long would it take until we just gave up in frustration?
Before this world was created, God had a plan for us. We would be sent to this world. We would obtain a body, like He had. We would experience life and all the joys and pains that come with these bodies. Our lives would be a time to prove our faithfulness and love for Him. When our mortal lives were complete, the plan was (and still is) for us to return back to live with Him again.
When we were created, God knew that we would be imperfect. He knew human nature was not a sinless one. He planned on that, however, in the Pearl of Great Price, from the book of Moses, we learn that “no unclean thing can dwell” in God’s presence. How would we be able to return to live with him, if we are imperfect, unclean beings? Without a way to repent and become clean there would be no point in going through this life. It would be like trying to complete a crossword puzzle with a pen, or typing an essay without a delete button, or having no “do overs”. We’d never win. What is it we’d like to win? Eternal life, exaltation in the life to come, living again in the presence of God. Lucky for us we have been given a way so that life is not frustratingly pointless. We can win.
God knew we would not be able to keep his commandments in perfectness. Christ was the only one to accomplish such a feat. The laws of justice demand a price for sin. There is no way we could ever pay that price ourselves. Christ, our Savior, the only one who had no price to pay, paid our debt for us, through which justice is met and we receive mercy and salvation.
Jesus Christ volunteered in the life before this one to take upon him the sins of the world. He was born and was the only person in the history of the world to live a perfect life. He was the only qualified person to do what he did for us. He gave his perfect life in ransom for our imperfect lives. In the Garden of Gethsamane he took upon himself the sins, pains, afflictions and burdens of the world. As a final sacrifice he gave his life on the cross. He would not stay dead forever. 3 days after his burial, he rose as a resurrected being. His spirit and body had been reunited and he lives again. He had overcome death and paved the way for us that we might overcome death as well. Without Him, our bodies would lie as dust once our spirits left us at the end of our mortal existence, and our spirits would be in such a state that would be unfit to return to our Father’s presence leaving us under Satan’s dominion. Christ paid the price we could not pay ourselves to save us from such a fate.
The atonement accomplishes two things. First it overcomes physical also known as temporal death. Christ was the first person to be resurrected. We too will be resurrected. Everyone will have the gift of immortality in the life to come. After our bodies die, our spirit and our body will become separated. When we are resurrected our spirit and body will be reunited in a perfected form.
The second thing the atonement does is saves us from spiritual death which is not the same as temporal, or physical death. Spiritual death is the separation of ourselves from God. Remember how no unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God? While every one will be saved from the physical death and be resurrected, to be saved from spiritual death requires personal choice and repentance. The atonement allows us to repent for our sins and cleanse ourselves if we so choose. It’s like being allowed to use a pencil while working on a crossword, or the delete button when typing an essay or using “do overs” when playing a game and you mess up first thing. It allows us to win.
Can you imagine what would happen if Christ hadn’t overcome these two forms of death for us? If we’re not able to return to God, where would that leave us? In the Book of Mormon, the 2nd Book of Nephi, Chapter 9 verses 6-10 describes the importance of a resurrection and what would happen without it and the atonement:
“6. For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfil the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection, and the resurrection must needs come unto man by reason of the fall; and the fall came by reason of transgression; and because man became fallen they were cut off from the presence of the Lord.”
What this verse is saying is we need the resurrection to fulfil God’s plan that he has for us- the plan for us to return to Him. We need a resurrection because we have death. We have death because of the fall of Adam that occurred in the Garden of Eden. With the fall of Adam came not only physical death, but spiritual death which is being cut off from the presence of the Lord.
7. “Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement– save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth to rise no more.
8. O the wisdom of God, in his mercy and Grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God and became the devil, to rise no more.
9. And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God...
10. O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit.”
So as we can see from these verses here, without the atonement, and without a resurrection, we would become subject to Satan, but God made sure that we would have a way to make it back to Him. He wouldn’t send us here with no hope or chance to return. Who wants to play a game you know you have no chance of winning? He wants us to win this one. He loves us so much he gave his only begotten son, the only person in the world who had no price to pay for his sins, as a sacrifice to pay the price for ours. He lives again, and because of him, we will live again and have a way to repent of our sins so that we might regain our Heavenly Father’s presence.
I know that these things I have shared with you are true. I am grateful for the atonement and what it means for us. Without it life would be frustratingly pointless and God’s plan could not be possible. I love my savior, Jesus Christ and I love my Heavenly Father. Life is not frustratingly pointless. Because of the atonement, if we play the game as best as we can and endure to the end, we can win.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
As it approaches.....
6 years ago