Learning How the Atonement Can Change You
Spirit, gratitude, testimony, and challenge—these are the nourishing agents of the spiritual greenhouse that allow the doctrine of the Atonement to thrive and blossom with radiant beauty. Teaching this doctrine requires the highest and best within us—our most creative powers, our most submissive spirit, and our finest intellectual faculties. (The Atonement of Jesus Christ redeems us from the Fall of Adam and from our own acts of disobedience. Explain that as part of God’s merciful plan, the Atonement of Jesus Christ permits us to escape the “monster” of death and hell (see 2 Nephi ), meaning physical and spiritual death. We will all be resurrected.
It is crucial that every individual know our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and gain an understanding of the Atonement wrought on our behalf. Our eternal happiness depends upon it. This truth is the very root of Christian doctrine. You may know much about the gospel as it branches from there, but if you only know the branches and those branches do not touch the root, if they have been cut free from that truth, there will be no life nor substance nor redemption in them.
The basic concept of why we need an atonement may be summarized fairly simply: You and I lived before this life in a celestial home with our heavenly parents. We came to this earth to obtain a physical body and to learn and grow by our own experiences. However, we are unclean, for we disobey to some extent the commandments of God. Therefore, that which we desire most in life, to return to our heavenly home, is denied us, for no unclean thing can dwell in His presence.
There is, however, a remedy. We may thus be rendered clean, without guilt before God, and be welcomed back into His presence. Sadly, many do not believe in a Redeemer or understand the need for an atonement, even though they acknowledge human failings. They are left to believe, therefore, that we can never be truly happy, that this life is all there is, and that we must find pleasure here and there as best we can. Without a Savior to redeem and reform us, there is little hope of lasting improvement in humanity.
Such a dismal view of life can be corrected by a study of the Book of Mormon. Many Church members have been taught the concepts of why we need an atonement, but there are elements of this doctrine that are often misunderstood.
Errors in thinking can lessen the hope and joy they ought to feel or cause them to wander into byways of sin or despair. I would like to address a few common misunderstandings about the Atonement. It is the idea that Christ can save all mankind, but He may not be able to save me.
This kind of feeling is terribly discouraging, and it can become an excuse to dabble in sin. Others can sense that this idea is false and that Christ can save them, but they are not sure He will. The question is not whether we are perfect or whether we are worth forgiving, but whether we are willing to admit when we do wrong, feel sorry, confess as appropriate, do all we can to set things right, and ask the Lord to forgive us.
I know that the Lord is ready, even anxious, to forgive each of us personally if we will but come to Him see Mosiah Another mistake is to believe that the Atonement really only comes into effect at the very end, that is, at the time of Final Judgment. I am just hoping that I will do well enough overall what is our responsibility to the environment at the end the Lord will apply His generous mercy to me and I will get in to heaven.
It does include the fact that we must sincerely strive to do what is right, and it includes the idea that the Lord can in His mercy take away our sins. As a favorite hymn teaches:. Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me! I testify that the Lord hears our prayers and that He will make us clean and bless us with His Spirit here and now, if we will trust in Him and repent.
We partake of the sacrament each week to renew our covenants and feel that cleansing power anew. We are exhorted to retain a remission of our sins from day to day see Mosiah The Lord is going to forgive and save everybody.
Why not sample in the meantime a bit of what the world has to offer? After all, everyone else is doing it. The Lord, of course, can and wants to forgive everyone, but a full measure of His mercy will only come with complete and deep repentance. If we have not suffered, we have what do you do to get a boyfriend repented. Elder How to set gmail to automatically delete messages R.
Anyone who thinks otherwise has not read the life of the young Alma, nor tried to personally repent. In the process of repentance we are granted just a taste of the suffering we would endure if we failed to turn away from evil. That pain, though only momentary for the repentant, is the most bitter of cups.
What a terrible thing to believe mistakenly that sin will be happiness and that repentance will be easy, for one of the terrible consequences of sin is the loss of the Spirit. It is also folly to assume that we can premeditatedly sin, repent, and then have the Lord immediately remove all the natural consequences of our sins.
When we choose to sin, we also choose the results of those sins. Suppose what really happened at sandy hook people conceive a baby outside of marriage, then repent and are forgiven by the Lord. Will the baby suddenly go away? Obviously not; someone must care for that baby.
Though the baby will doubtless bring joy to many lives, some of the consequences of our sins may be difficult to bear. Also, these consequences may not be quickly or easily resolved. We may have to wrestle with some of them for much of our mortal lives. This principle does not detract in any way from the complete and infinite cleansing power of the Atonement.
When we truly repent, the Lord fully forgives us and our guilt is swept away see Enos But it is important to understand that the Lord has placed us in a physical world where there are real consequences for our choices.
There is great saving power in deepening our understanding of the Atonement. There are many scriptural accounts that can enlarge our understanding and comfort our hearts when viewed in the light of that singular event. A beautiful example is the story of Jesus feeding the 5, As evening came, the disciples became concerned for the hunger of the people and urged the Savior to send them away to find food.
Jesus asked that the disciples go and buy food for them, but they could not possibly muster the resources required see Markfootnote a. The Lord then asked how much food the people had with them. Jesus then organized the people at the hands of His disciples and blessed and divided the loaves and fish. His disciples distributed it to the people.
Now consider this story for what it can teach us about the Atonement: 1 The people ran to be with Jesus. Similarly, we need to come to Him without delay. It is significant to observe from this account the implication that the Master not only spoke symbolically often in parables, but often acted symbolically as well. This realization may profitably lead us to look for other acts of Jesus that are symbolic of the Atonement. It is comforting and inspiring to note the many ways in which the Lord teaches us about His Atonement.
An accurate understanding of this doctrine is the one of the most important things a person can acquire. More on this topic: See Spencer J. April Inspirational Thoughts Gordon B. Because of His Love Joseph C. Devn Cornish.
Search the Prophets L. Aldin Porter. The Sin of Achan Christopher J. Fixing Everything Catherine Matthews Pavia. Ross F Hopkin. Brent Scharman. Women of Righteousness M. Russell Ballard.
Washington D. When other helpers fail and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me!
Summary. Tell the children that because of Jesus Christ’s love and atonement, people can repent when they do something wrong, and Heavenly Father and Jesus will forgive them. Explain that it is much better not to do wrong things so we do not need to repent. But when we do sin, we can repent and become clean and pure. Now consider this story for what it can teach us about the Atonement: (1) The people ran to be with Jesus. Similarly, we need to come to Him without delay. (2) Jesus has great compassion for us, as He did for them. (3) Jesus was miraculously able to take away the hunger of so many just as He is able to take away our sins. Apr 01, · Think about when the Atonement first became meaningful to you. When have you received a special manifestation of grace? Explain the details of such experiences. Along with saying, “I know Jesus lives and loves us,” express how you came to this knowledge. Children respond well to these stories. Include multiple aspects of the Atonement.
To help the children realize that people can repent because Jesus Christ atoned for our sins. Remember that children younger than eight years old are not yet accountable and do not need to repent of sin. Encourage them to always do what is right. A Book of Mormon and a Doctrine and Covenants.
A large rock or other heavy object and a bag in which to place it so a child can carry it over his shoulder. Cutouts: Alma the Younger cutout , the four sons of Mosiah cutout , and an angel cutout Make the necessary preparations for any enrichment activities that you will be using. Follow up with the children if you encouraged them to do something during the week.
While Josh and his mother were shopping, Josh had taken something from the store without paying for it. Josh knew he had done the wrong thing. He had just been baptized and knew that he should have chosen the right. Ask the class how Josh felt about what he had stolen.
Have a child pretend to be Josh. Have the child carry the bag over his shoulder. Explain that Josh did not feel good about stealing. It was like a heavy weight inside that kept him from being completely happy. What can Josh do to correct his wrong choice? Display on the chalkboard the four wordstrips.
Remind the children that they learned about repentance in an earlier lesson. What can Josh do to repent? Answers might include the following: take back what he had stolen, pay for what he had stolen, apologize to the storekeeper, and offer to do something for the storekeeper to make up for the wrong. Explain that when we repent, we free ourselves from heavy, sad feelings, and we are happier. Tell the class that the opportunity to repent and be forgiven is a wonderful blessing. Display picture , Jesus Praying in Gethsemane.
Tell the children that the Savior made it possible for people to be forgiven. Explain that shortly before Jesus Christ died on the cross, he and his Apostles went to a garden called Gethsemane. Three of the Apostles—Peter, James, and John—went into the garden with him. They waited a short distance away while Jesus went farther into the garden and prayed to Heavenly Father. Jesus knew that he would have to suffer for us so that we could repent and be forgiven of our sins.
In the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross, Jesus suffered great pain for us. He suffered for our sins, or the wrong things we do. Write the word Atonement on the chalkboard. Explain that the Atonement means that Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins so that we could repent and be forgiven. He did this because he loves us and because he wanted to make it possible for us to repent and be clean.
We say that he atoned for our sins and wrong choices. Have the class say the word Atonement. Heavenly Father loves us, too, and wants each one of us to repent and live with him again. Because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, we can be forgiven for sins and wrong choices we make after the age of eight. Show the cutouts when speaking of each character. Tell the children that a Book of Mormon prophet named Alma had a son who was very rebellious and did many things that were wrong.
This prophet Alma is the same man we learned about in the story of Abinadi. He listened to the Holy Ghost and became a great teacher and leader in the Church. His son was also named Alma. Bring out the following points from the scripture story found in Mosiah —14 :. Alma the Younger did not obey his father. He and four of his friends went about trying to destroy the Church by teaching the people to do wrong.
Many people believed Alma the Younger and stopped keeping the commandments. He sent an angel to tell Alma and his friends to repent. Let the children continue to tell as much of the story as they can.
Bring out the following points:. Alma and his friends were so afraid when they saw the angel that they fell to the earth. Their prayers were answered, and Alma the Younger stood up and said something that made his father very happy and grateful. Tell the children that you want them to answer some questions and to discuss how we know that Alma the Younger really repented. Refer to the posted wordstrips as you review.
Whom did Alma the Younger need to ask to forgive him? Heavenly Father; his father, Alma; and the Church. Explain that to right the wrong, Alma went from city to city telling everyone about the true Church.
He became a missionary. Do you think that Alma truly repented? Why was Alma able to be forgiven when he repented? Explain that it is much better not to do wrong things so we do not need to repent. But when we do sin, we can repent and become clean and pure. Bear your testimony about the atonement of Jesus Christ and the importance of repentance. Choose from the following activities those that will work best for your children. You can use them in the lesson itself or as a review or summary.
Help the older children memorize the third article of faith. Review this article of faith with the younger children. Explain any words or concepts to the children that they do not understand. Write Doctrine and Covenants on the chalkboard, and have older members of the class read it together. Ask the children to explain the verse in their own words. Explain that Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to live with him again. But before we can live with him, we have to repent of all our sins and be forgiven.
Why was Jesus Christ willing to suffer pain for each one of us? Because he loves us. Because he suffered pain for our sins, we can repent and be forgiven.
Distribute a copy of the handout below and a pencil to each child who can read and write. Read the message with them. Ask who can discover what letters go in the blanks. The first six blanks are for the letters of the word repent, and the second nine blanks are for Atonement. Have the children fill in the blanks. Challenge the children to take the message home, read it to their parents, and explain what they learned in Primary. Conclude the activity by reading the message aloud as a class.
Click here for additional stories, activities, and media resources. Home ChurchofJesusChrist. Invite a child to give the opening prayer. Tell the class the following story: While Josh and his mother were shopping, Josh had taken something from the store without paying for it. Show the children the large rock or other heavy object in a bag. How could Josh become happier? By repenting. Bring out the following points from the scripture story found in Mosiah —14 : Alma the Younger did not obey his father.
The father prayed that his son would learn the truth. Does anyone know what happened after that? Bring out the following points: Alma and his friends were so afraid when they saw the angel that they fell to the earth. Alma lost his ability to speak or to move. Did Alma the Younger feel sorry for what he had done? Invite a child to give the closing prayer. Previous Next. Additional Helpful Resources Click here for additional stories, activities, and media resources.