Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mosiah 3:11-12 -- On Repentance and Faith

"For behold, and also his blood atoneth for the sins of those who have fallen by the transgression of Adam, who have died not knowing the will of God concerning them, or who have ignorantly sinned.
But wo, wo unto him who knoweth that he rebelleth against God! For salvation cometh to none such except it be through repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ."
Mosiah 3:11-12

I love King Benjamin.  These are a couple of verses from the address where he told his people what God commanded him to say.  This specific part is instructive I think.  Sometimes we think that Christ's atonement is a free pass for us... we believe in Christ, and automatically every wrong thing we ever did, or will ever do is erased.  And Christ's atonement *is* where we should be looking for salvation, but we can't forget the part where we actually have to change.  These verses make it clear that Christ's atonement applies automatically to certain types of mistakes.  Later in this same chapter King Benjamin makes it very clear that the atonement applies automatically to little children who die... which is implied here.  Anyone who didn't know what was expected, or who sincerely didn't know something was wrong, they are good.  But we, because all of us know right from wrong, need to do more.  Salvation comes to us through repentance and faith.  Repentance requires us to change.  It isn't just an insincere "I'm sorry" for breaking a rule we don't believe in.  We have to believe in the change, and give up the behavior.  We sinned on purpose, knowing that we were rebelling against God.  And we have to get to a point where we would not make that same choice again... which is huge sometimes.  We have to become new, different people in some ways.  That's what the symbolism of baptism is about.  The death of the old self, and the birth of the new self... we become people with new, changed hearts, who no longer want to rebel against God.
It's hard to believe in ourselves sometimes.  Even when we know clearly what is right, sometimes we want what is wrong.  We seek after it, we want it more than we want God.  How do we change from a person who really, truly loves something else more than God into someone who puts God first, and chooses differently, not just out of obligation, but out of love?  And this is where faith comes in.  Because that is hard... probably quite impossible by ourselves.  But if we really want to change, then God can help us.  We can overcome any addiction, any desire, and any weakness, as we look to him for guidance and power.  And he will help us, even if we go to him because we don't love him, or we are angry with him.  Even if we go to him because we doubt or have insulted him to others.  If we have faith enough to truly seek his help, he *will* help.  We can repent and be clean.  We can have our hearts changed, and be free of resentment and anger and anything that draws us away from God.
Today, let's partake of the atonement for ourselves, through repentance and faith.  Let's let God help us become our best selves, and let go of the bad stuff we've been carrying around.

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