Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sacrifice for Salvation??

I've been reflecting on the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for each of us.  Each of us can attempt to comprehend what it was that he suffered for us individually and we will fail each time.  We can't completely wrap our mind around it but we can know that the atonement did take place.  I love the talk by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland "The Inconvenient Messiah."  In this talk Elder Holland pinpoints our role in relation to the sacrifice of the Messiah.  I would encourage all to read it. 

Society today is all about convenience, faster, easier.  How can we short cut this or that?  What's the latest greatest and leave the things of the past where they belong.  Even in the secular world people begin looking for the "easy road to salvation" and there are churches claiming to offer it.  Today people want to attain heaven with no personal sacrifice, no change, no repentance.

If life wasn't easy for Christ, why should we expect it to be a breeze for us.  Though we will never compare to the sacrifice of the Savior, we are required to sacrifice.  Sacrifice has been in the gospel of Jesus Christ since the beginning.

To sacrifice is to give up something we value for the sake of something of greater worth. As Latter-day Saints, we have the opportunity to sacrifice worldly things for the Lord and His kingdom. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should be willing to make any sacrifice required by the Lord. If we were not required to make sacrifices, we would never be able to develop the faith necessary for eternal salvation.

The Atonement of Jesus Christ is the great and eternal sacrifice at the center of the gospel (see Alma 34:8–16). Before the Savior carried out the Atonement, His covenant people sacrificed animals as a symbol of His sacrifice. This practice helped them look ahead to the Atonement (see Moses 5:4–8). The command to offer animal sacrifices ended with the death of Jesus Christ. In the Church today, we partake of the sacrament in remembrance of the Savior’s atoning sacrifice.

In addition to remembering the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we are to offer our own sacrifice: a broken heart and a contrite spirit. The Savior said: “Ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away. … And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost” (3 Nephi 9:19–20).
To have a broken heart and a contrite spirit is to be humble and receptive to the will of God and to the counsel of those He has called to lead His Church. It also means to feel deep sorrow for sin and a sincere desire to repent. The prophet Lehi emphasized the importance of offering this sacrifice: “Behold, [Christ] offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered” (2 Nephi 2:7). If we do not offer the sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit, we cannot fully receive the blessings that come through the Atonement.
If you are willing to sacrifice as the Lord has commanded, you will be accepted by Him. He taught: “All … who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice—yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command—they are accepted of me” (D&C 97:8). With an eternal perspective, you can see that giving up the things of the world is really no sacrifice at all. The blessings you receive are greater than anything you ever give up.

As the famous hymn says "sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven."  I testify of the truth of these things.

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