Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Deeper Understanding of Christ's Atonement

I took the advice I got from the comments on a previous post and read Bro. Skousen's "Personal Search for the Meaning of the Atonement." It was amazing. Part of what helped me get a lot out of it came from reading Sherrie's post on understanding the reason for God's laws, and how we shouldn't be focusing on the law itself but on what it's helping us achieve; also, reading Appendix B in Skousen's book The First 2000 Years helped.

After reading the article I came to the realization that I don't understand what it means to love Christ. Sure I read my scriptures, pray, have Family Home Evening weekly, etc.; but I tend to forget why I'm doing it all. There is absolutely nothing we can do that will get us into the Celestial Kingdom, only what Christ has accomplished will allow us to enjoy that eternal reward. However, the effects of his sacrifice are somewhat conditional on our demonstration of our love for Him through obedience to His commandments.

Understanding our complete dependence on Christ makes it easier to accept the principles in the parable of the laborers in the vineyard. Some laborer's worked all day and still others only worked one hour, yet they all worked and all received an equal reward. We are not in competition one with another to reach exaltation, and we can't reach exaltation without our families or helping those around us.

Doctrine and Covenants 45:3-5 illustrates Christ's role in our eternal salvation. Amulek helps us further understand that every last one of us is in need of the mercy of the Lord (Alma 34:14-16) and will be eternally indebted to Him.

I can't explain everything that has passed through my mind, but I can add that there is so much for us to learn. I'm amazed at how many times I feel like I know something only to find out that there is something much more enlightening on that subject that I had never considered. The gospel of Jesus Christ is on the earth in its fullness. God speaks to His prophet, Thomas S. Monson today. The Book of Mormon was written and preserved for thousands of years for our learning and studying of the gospel of happiness.

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