Gospel Study Sesh – The Atonement
We are feeling ambitious after General Conference and have decided to tackle the topic of topics. This week we are on The Atonement. After hearing Elder Richard G Scott’s address, he posed a question that really struck me, he was talking to a young woman who asked “What is the most important thing to be doing in my life right now?” and his response was “To recognize the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ in their lives.” Really? Really? The MOST important thing we could be doing in our life … right now …. MOST important is to learn to recognize the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ in our life. What would be different about our lives if we were really good at recognizing the power of the atonement in our lives? Is there a difference between seeing the atonement and seeing the power of the atonement? So, let’s dive in.
- How has the POWER of the atonement been manifest in our lives?
- What would be different about our lives if we were really good at recognizing the power of the atonement in our lives?
You know what would be different in my life if I were better at recognizing the power of the Atonement? I would quit trying to do it all myself. I would make my decisions – good and bad – remembering that Christ is there for a reason and I don’t have to scourge myself over things while denying myself the power of the Atonement.
Would I be so prone to sin if I remembered the Atonement always? Probably a little bit less, but I’m still human. But the Atonement provides me with perspective and understanding. It is important to know one’s role in the grand scheme of things, and I know that I have a Heavenly Father who loves each of us individually, and as such, allowed the humiliation and sacrifice of his Only Begotten just to help we, the mere mortals, have a leg up on the eternities. That’s huge.
I also think I would develop a greater appreciation for everything around me, but I’ll leave it to today’s question to get you to elaborate on why I might feel that way.
- How are gratitude and the Atonement connected?
- “None Were with Him” – Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
- “Lord, I Believe” – Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
- “The Divine Gift of Gratitude” – President Thomas S. Monson
Thinking about gratitude and the Atonement is awesome. Seriously. I develop a greater appreciation for everything around me, as it is all unified by Christ’s charity. In fact, just in thinking about this, I have developed more appreciation and gratitude. Heck, I’m grateful to have a computer with which I can write this email. And I love that the keyboard is using is wireless, so that I can relax in this comfy chair that has been provided for me. Remembering Christ’s pivotal role in every aspect of my life certainly helps me appreciate it all the more.
Another reader wrote in and said it simply – more gratitude = more understanding of the Atonement! Understanding comes from emulating Christ.
- What is the relationship between agency and the Atonement?
- “Atonement, Agency, Accountability” – Elder Boyd K. Packer
- “Hope Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ” – Elder Neal A. Maxwell
- Alma 42
Isn’t the Atonement great (I’m not sure if we capitalize that, but I’m going to err on the side of yup)? It’s been an awesome few days, and do you mind if I confess something to you here? I don’t get clear-cut answers on every question. The other day I wrote almost 5 pages, and was looking up scriptures and talks and never got to an understanding that I was happy with. Sometimes, all these questions do is tell me I need to know more, but they still get my wheels turning. So if that’s you, know you’ve got company here.
Agency and the Atonement is a wonderful reminder to me, a reminder of how the Atonement works. In Mosiah 14:10 we read “…when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.” Here Isaiah is prophesying about the Savior, and says that when we make our Savior’s sacrifice and offering for sin (when we use the Atonement, when we take advantage of it and use it) that’s when Christ shall see his seed, meaning we become His children, we wear His name, we are His posterity, His glory, etc.
Using the Atonement doesn’t hurt the Savior, when we mess up, we often draw the analogy or thought that we made Jesus cry right there, but I’m more of the persuasion that that’s not the case. Rather, we glorify Him when we use the gift He’s given to become whole again, we become His seed. Something to think about.
- Read the quote below, and apply the “Piano Lesson” analogy to you. Short and sweet, just put your situation in that analogy, use thoughts from the previous 3 questions as you do.
Brother Brad Wilcox gave this thought in a recent BYU devotional:
“Christ’s arrangement with us is similar to a mom providing music lessons for her child. Mom pays the piano teacher. How many know what I am talking about? Because Mom pays the debt in full, she can turn to her child and ask for something. What is it? Practice! Does the child’s practice pay the piano teacher? No. Does the child’s practice repay Mom for paying the piano teacher? No. Practicing is how the child shows appreciation for Mom’s incredible gift. It is how he takes advantage of the amazing opportunity Mom is giving him to live his life at a higher level. Mom’s joy is found not in getting repaid but in seeing her gift used—seeing her child improve. And so she continues to call for practice, practice, practice.
“If the child sees Mom’s requirement of practice as being too overbearing (“Gosh, Mom, why do I need to practice? None of the other kids have to practice! I’m just going to be a professional baseball player anyway!”), perhaps it is because he doesn’t yet see with mom’s eyes. He doesn’t see how much better his life could be if he would choose to live on a higher plane.
“In the same way, because Jesus has paid justice, He can now turn to us and say, “Follow me” (Matthew 4:19), “Keep my commandments” (John 14:15). If we see His requirements as being way too much to ask (“Gosh! None of the other Christians have to pay tithing! None of the other Christians have to go on missions, serve in callings, and do temple work!”), maybe it is because we do not yet see through Christ’s eyes. We have not yet comprehended what He is trying to make of us.”
Alright, can I even begin to tell you how much I love the Brad Wilcox piano analogy? Al recently enjoyed it at BYU Education Week. I had the privilege of seeing Brother Wilcox speak at a YSA fireside when I was both “Y” and “S,” and the piano analogy stuck to me above everything else he said; so much so that I found his BYU email address and sent the man an email to tell him how perfect I thought it was, and to find out if he had that story published anywhere or if there was any written access to it.
It turns out, it’s included in his book, The Continuous Atonement, and Brother Wilcox wrote an inscription in a copy and mailed one to me! And it’s a great book. We’re not being paid to promote it in any way, but I love being able to tell that story of a great brother in Christ who was just happy to have his words well received by others. He even described the analogy as “a gift to me from Heaven.”
As far as my thoughts on it – seriously, we can never pay parents back for piano lessons. There’s no tangible way to do it. All of the rewards associated with the lessons are a result of that initial deposit, not a recompense. How easily do we try to pay back Christ? How easily do we just go about it the wrong way? Christ paid the debt, but he still expects something of us, in this case – “practice.” So practice! Don’t just sit there and stare at the piano and expect to get any better at it! I’m an idiotic mortal and I so often think that I will draw closer to God out of passive will alone.
- Atonement is defined as “to reconcile man to God.” What keeps you from being reconciled to God?