Being Renewed and Reborn Through the Atonement of Christ

Last Sunday (December 29, 2013), I gave a talk in church, and so I thought I’d share it here, as it might help someone.

As I pondered the topic, Being Renewed and Reborn Through the Atonement of Christ, the first things that came to my mind were all of the miracles that Christ performed.  When Christ healed the people of their physical limitations, they were temporally reborn.  They were given a second chance.  I gave these scripture stories in a list.

1.  The man with Palsy: Mark 2:4-12

Jesus Heals a Man Stricken with Palsy: video at lds.org

  • The definition of Palsy: “Complete or partial muscle paralysis, often accompanied by loss of sensation and uncontrollable body movements.
    I have a cousin who has 3 out of 4 children with cerebral palsy.  Any walking they do un-aided is a miracle.  Their brains are under developed, their muscles under developed, and many other functions prevent them from moving freely.
  • Our temple president, President Bray gave a talk in Stake Conference in September of 2012.  He talked about this bible story.  He taught us that Christ didn’t just return this man’s ability to walk.  He healed the muscles, the bones, the ligaments.  Everything that would have needed therapy to strengthen, was healed perfectly… allowing this man to pick up his bed and walk.
  • I want to add to this.  If this man had cerebral palsy, he would have been healed by having his brain fully developed as well.

2.  The woman with a blood disease:  Mark 5: 25-34

Jesus Heals a Woman of Faith: video from lds.org

  • FAITH:  In order to be healed, we must have faith.
  • Elder Bateman a member of the Seventy taught, “Faith is both a principle and a process.  It defines the path by which we build a relationship of trust with the Savior.  In order for faith to develop, we must begin with a humble heart and contrite spirit, have a strong desire to know the Lord, and then be obedient to gospel principles.  In return, the Savior rewards the obedient with spiritual confirmations of their actions (see Alma 32:16, 27-32).  As faith grows, our vision of eternity expands, which in creases our capacity to meet life’s challenges” (“Faith That Preserves and Strengthens,” in Brigham Young University 1996-97 Speeches [1997], 141). Excerpt taken from Seminary New Testament Teacher’s Manual.
  • We can gain faith by testing the commandments.
  • Elder Holland taught us that we should not focus on the faith we lack, but that we must grasp the faith we have and exercise it until it becomes knowledge.

3.  The woman taken in adultery:  John 8:10-11

Go and Sin No More: Video from lds.org

  • Maybe it’s because I am a writer, but I often look at these stories and wonder… “Then what?  Did she turn from sin and seek righteousness?”  The only sinless person around her showed the woman compassion.  He literally forgave here right there and saved her life.  I like to think that she changed.  How could someone be shown that much compassion and turn from it?
  • As we saw in the story of the man with palsy, and the woman taken in adultery, Christ not only healed the physical body, he also healed the spirit.  We don’t know what happened to any of the people he healed.  What we do know, is that Christ gave all of them a second chance.  A new start, and a chance to be reborn.

What do these stories of physical healing have to do with repentance?  Well, this was the best way I could relate how fully and wholly our Father and Heaven can forgive us, leaving us renewed and reborn.  Ready to start again.

4. Repent and start new, start again, but better:  D&C 58:42-43

  • We must learn to put our faith in Christ and the Atonement, so that we can be forgiven.  Heavenly Father promises us, that He will remember our sins no more after we fully repent.

5.  How?  We must bury our weapons of war:  Alma 24:16-19

Anti-Nephi-Lehies bury their weapons of rebellion. Via lds.org

Anti-Nephi-Lehies bury their weapons of rebellion.
Via lds.org

  • What are your weapons of rebellion?  What instruments are out in the open posing the threat of temptation?  Are you willing to “bury” these, so that they are no longer in reach to tempt you?
  • The Ammonites were incredibly faithful.  They weren’t without trial after their choice either.  Remember when their brethren came upon them?  Many were slain.  But even more people during that experience were converted than slain.  Those converted repented, and likewise buried their weapons of war.
  • When you make a covenant with the Lord, you will be tested, and you might make a mistake.  But remember, no one is ever done repenting.  You just repeat the process being again renewed–just a little better than the last time.

6.  Elder Sterling W. Sill a member of the Seventy in 1971 taught, “Hang on the walls of your mind the memory of your successes.  Take counsel of your strength, not your weakness.  Think of the good jobs you have done.  Think of the times when you rose above your average level of performance and carried out an idea or a dream or a desire for which you had deeply longed.  Hang these pictures on the walls of your mind and look at them as you travel to roadway of life.”

One last scripture.  Moroni 7:37, 40-41

I bear testimony of the power of the Atonement.  Each day, each week, month and year, I learn a little more about utilizing the Atonement in my life.  As we take small steps toward repenting, putting a little faith in Christ, we will be rewarded with freedom, the guidance of the Holy Ghost, and the opportunity to test more faith in Christ and the Atonement.  With each step back to Gethsemane, we are allowing Christ to heal our spirits completely, to give us a renewed desire to be a little better today than we were yesterday.  Remember, that when we repent of our sins, our Father in Heaven has promised that He will remember them no more.  We just need a little faith.  In Jesus’s name, amen.

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