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Relief Society Lesson–The Atonement–February 2016

 

Tell me every thing you know about the Atonement.......

Discussion – we talked about forgiveness and scarifice

In the book True to the Faith we read a simple explanation:

The word atone means to reconcile, or to restore to harmony. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can be reconciled to our Heavenly Father. We can ultimately dwell in his presence forever, having been made perfect through Jesus.

Jesus Christ was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem his people. In the premortal spirit world, Heavenly Father presented the eternal plan of salvation, which required an infinite and eternal Atonement. The premortal Jesus, then known as Jehovah, humbly declared that he would do the will of the father in fulfilling the plan. Thus he was foreordained to carry out the atonement to come to the earth, suffer the penalty for our sins, die on the cross, and be resurrected. He became the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

The atonement is the supreme expression of our heavenly father's love for us. It is also the greatest expression of the Savior's love for the father and for us.

We are all descendants of Adam and Eve, and all the people of the earth inherit the effects of the fall of Adam and Eve. Which means we all experience a spiritual death, being separated from the presence of God and we experience a temporal death, which is the death of our physical body.

In our fallen state we suffer opposition and temptation, when we give in to those things we distance ourselves from God.

Justice demands the the effects of the Fall remain and that we be punished for the things we do wrong. Without the atonement, spiritual and temporal death would place an impassable barrier between us and God. We cannot save ourselves from the fall or from our own sins.

The only way for us to be saved is for someone else to rescue us, to satisfy the demands of justice. Christ had to stand in our place, had to assume the burden, had to pay the price. He has always been the only one capable of making this sacrifice.

There were things that had to be in place in order for Christ to make this sacrifice.

He needed the power to lay down his life and to take it up again. This isn't as simple as just dying. We often refer to the atonement as Christ dying for us, but it's more than that

From his mother he inherited the ability to die. From his father he inherited the ability to overcome death. Both were needed.

He was a perfect being, with no sin, nothing to repent of, therefore he was not subject to any of the demands of justice.

His sacrifice began in the garden where he groaned beneath the burdens of sin, sorrow, disobedience, illness, all that any person will ever go through or feel. It continued on the cross, where he allowed himself to die.

Lets think about that, we know that he was suffering, not merely a physical suffering, but the suffering that comes from heart and mind and soul as well as physically. But from his father he had inherited the ability to overcome death. He didn't die from the torture and pain, he allowed himself to die after having suffered all that was needed to allow him to succor and understand what each of us will ever go through. He willingly gave up his life, he laid it down to atone, to reconcile or restore harmony, so that each of us may dwell with God again.

3Nephi 27:13-16

Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you, that I came into the world to do the will of my father, because my father sent me

and my father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the father, to stand before me, to be judged of their work, whether they be good or whether they be evil

and for this cause have I been lifted up, therefore, according to the power of the father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works

and it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled' and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world

The atonement applies to all people who have ever or will ever live on the earth. We will all be resurrected and brought into the presence of God to be judged. We will receive the gift of immortality and live forever in glorified resurrected bodies. That gift is unconditional! But we are still responsible for our choices, we have to apply the atonement individually to repent and be cleansed from our sins.

What we are hoping for is eternal life, which is much more than immortality. To have eternal life is to be worthy to dwell in God's presence, inheriting a place in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom. This gift is given as a result of our work, we have to meet some conditions.

We have to have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ

We have to repent

We must endure well, to the end

We must receive the ordinances of baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, temple endowment, and marriage sealing, and of course priesthood ordinations for the men.

Those who have died without having had the opportunity for these things will have an opportunity given to them, those who have a desire for things such as marriage but do not have the opportunity here will also be given those opportunities.

The Lord has infinite mercy and infinite justice. I personally am relying heavily on the mercy portion!

These gifts of the atonement to me are the big ones. We need his merciful sacrifice because we want to be able to go home and dwell with our father. We need to be able to repent, we desire both immortality and eternal life. All of these are wonderful gifts and I don't know that we will ever truly understand how important or wonderful they are as long as we live. But these gifts are kind of a long term eternal kind of thing and we are humans, we can't see eternity, we often think in terms of now and tomorrow, maybe next week!

So how do we use the atonement in our everyday lives? How do we partake of this gift?

President Boyd K Packer teaches us

He had no debt to pay. He had committed no wrong. Nevertheless, an accumulation of all of the guilt, the grief and sorrow, the pain and humiliation, all of the mental, emotional, and physical torments known to man, he experienced them all.

President James E Faust taught

Since the Savior has suffered anything and everything that we could ever feel or experience, he can help the weak to become strong.

Elder Dallin H Oaks says

Our Savior experienced and suffered the fullness of all mortal challenges according to the flesh so he could know according to the flesh how to succor, which mean to give relief or aid to, his people according to their infirmities. He therefor knows our struggles, our heartaches, our temptations, and our suffering for he willingly experienced them all as an essential part of his atonement. And because of this, his atonement empowers him to succor us to give us the strength to bear it all.

The scriptures tell us that Jesus was sent to heal the brokenhearted, heal people of their infirmities, heal those that are afflicted in any manner. Isaiah said that the Messiah would bear our griefs and our sorrows and that he will strengthen us

Isaiah 41:10

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Name that tune!

So we know that the Savior has the power to succor or to help every mortal pain or affliction. Sometimes we are healed, sometimes we are given the strength or patience to endure. Sometimes we are given peace and comfort.

So I ask again, what are the everyday things we suffer that could be healed or born through the atonement of Christ?

discussion

We had an excellent and extended conversation about the healing effects of the Atonement. We talked about Christ being able to know what it feels like to lose a baby, to go through labor, to know of heartache and pain and illness. We talked about how if we could truly understand how he felt that and was able to give us succor then we would know that we are never alone and we can handle anything.

Sickness, pain, trauma, rejection, fear, children who stray, marriages that end, lack of employment, physical or mental disabilities, depression, being single, being childless, addictions, there is nothing we can feel that he has not felt.

Elder Neal A Maxwell taught

Having descended below all things, he comprehends, perfectly and personally, the full range of human suffering. We need only ask.

In the scriptures we often hear that the Savior will take upon him the suffering of his people, that he will succor his people. Who are his people?

It means all mankind, every person. We are all his people. His atonement is available to all, but other than the unconditional gifts we learned of earlier, his ability to heal and strengthen us usually only comes if we ask for it. He stands at the door, ever ready to help, but we need to answer the door, we need to ask, to invite him into our lives and be ready to receive his help.

Elder Oaks tells of a young man who is serving time in prison for crimes he committed. The man tells of the atonement working in his life. He knows he is responsible for his sins and has been working on that but wanted Elder Oaks to know, “I know that our Savior is walking these halls, and I have often felt Christ's love within these prison walls”

His atonement can reach us and heal us and work within our lives under any circumstance, as long as we are doing our part. Who would think that you could feel Christ's love within a prison, but where would it be needed more? And don't we all dwell within some kind of prison of our own making?

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Lifting Burdens