March 18, 2011

The Atonement 1

124 years before the birth of Christ, there lived a man named Benjamin. This man was a king, as well as a prophet. He was "a just man before the Lord." (Omni 1:25) He knew that he was about to die, and being filled with a great love and concern for his people, he commanded them to gather together so he could address them one final time. King Benjamin built a tower so that all who were there could hear him speak, even the little children.

King Benjamin then taught the people of one Jesus Christ who would come into the world. "He shall suffer temptations, and pain of body...even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold blood cometh from every pore...And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth...And lo, he cometh unto his own that salvation might come unto the children of men even through faith on his name;" (Mosiah 3:7-9)

This humble, and magnificent man taught the people of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, as has been prophesied by prophets before him. He taught that "...there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent." (Mosiah 3:17) King Benjamin taught his people of how they could become partakers of this most precious gift by putting off the natural man, and "becoming a saint through the atonement of Christ." (Mosiah 3:19)

Once the people had heard this wondrous speech, they all fell to the earth, as fear overcame them. For the first time, they had seen themselves as dust of the earth, and recognized that in order to gain salvation, they needed to seek this Jesus Christ of whom had been spoken of. "O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God...." What happened next is only to be described as miraculous.

"And it came to pass that after thy had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ who should come." (Mosiah 4:2-3)

King Benjamin then taught them how to apply the atonement to their lives by humbling themselves, trusting in God, and keeping His commandments, repenting of their sins continually, enduring to the end, and accepting the gift of the atonement in their lives. At the end of his address, the process of conversion was complete. King Benjamin's people had become "new creatures," and they all cried together saying, "We believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also we know of their surety and truth because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually." (Mosiah 5:2)

The Atonement is the power by which we are able to stand clean before the Father again. It saves us from physical and spiritual death. Through the power of the atonement, our hearts, desires and natures change. We become as King Benjamin's people, and no longer have a desire to do evil. It's more than a change in behavior, it's a change of character. With that change comes worthiness for the spirit, increased desire to learn of God and follow the commandments, new determination to prepare ourselves to meet him and an increased measure of love and gratitude for our Savior.

I testify of this miraculous healing and cleansing power of the Atonement of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

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