Friday, June 26, 2015

WEEK 99: The Divine Principle of Repentance

June 8, 2015


Man, has this week been a blast. I'm in the downtown/suburbs of Salt Lake. It's the most unique area I've served in. I love it. We cover 3 out of 6 wards in our stake and on average the activity rate of each ward is maybe 25%. There is a ton of work to do. Ton of non-members (compared to my past areas) as well. We're on foot and bikes too! It's been so great to be on the streets again, especially after being in car areas for so long. We've found 3 new investigators this past week, and that's just the beginning. This area has a load of potential. Ready to work hard and effective, to finish strong.

Over the past months, the Lord has been merciful in revealing His light. One principle of the Gospel I have come to learn of and love, is the principle of Repentance. With the miracle of the Atonement, comes the miracle of Forgiveness and Redemptive power. With the Atonement comes the miracle of Grace, or the enabling power of Christ that pushes and carries us along. Repentance is one of the main channels by which we can access these Divine helps.

"Therefore, according to justice, the plan of redemption could not be brought about, only on conditions of repentance of men in this probationary state, yea, this preparatory state; for except it were for these conditions, mercy could not take effect except it should destroy the work of justice. Now the work of justice could not be destroyed; if so, God would cease to be God." (Alma 42:13)

Just on a side note.. Alma 42 is one of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon. If you wish to learn of the Atonement and Gospel of Jesus Christ, and how it can apply  to and benefit you, read the Book of Mormon. There is so much knowledge and light to be gained in the these divinely inspired words.

Mercy can only take effect in our lives on conditions of repentance. God must allow justice to be satisfied and exercised, or He would not be a just God, and would actually "cease to be God". He lives by divine laws that require Him to be just. But, Christ suffered the demands of justice so, if we would repent, we would not have to.

"For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—

Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men." (D&C 19:16-19)

Because the Lord knew His children would be a very imperfect population, a Plan of Mercy was provided for His children. If we would humble ourselves, admit our faults, and plead for His help, He will help us. He will forgive and forget.

"Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more." (D&C 58:42)

Mercy will satisfy justice, because of Christ's suffering. Because Christ has taken our punishment upon Himself, "the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son" (John 5:22). Christ, in turn, only requires a "broken heart and contrite spirit". Not only will we dodge the eternal punishments of justice, but we will be happy in this mortal state as we repent daily and strive to try a little harder to be a little better each day.

"And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it." (Mosiah 2:41)

I can confidently testify that the happiness people that have walked and do walk the earth, are those who live the divine laws and principles, provided by a loving Heavenly Father through revelation. We must be willing to live a Higher Law if we wish to gain eternal life and joy. We must pay the small price of obedience.

"It is not enough to simply try to resist evil or empty your life of sin. You must fill your life with righteousness and engage in activities that bring spiritual power.. Full obedience brings the complete power of the gospel into your life, including increased strength to overcome your weaknesses. This obedience includes actions you might not initially consider part of repentance, such as attending meetings, paying tithing, giving service, and forgiving others." (True to the Faith, pg. 135)

We must give strict head to the counsel of Christ, and his chosen Prophets. That's why General Conference is so important. Every 6 months, we have the opportunity to hear from the Lord's anointed. They are able to help and counsel us on how live happy, wholesome, successful lives. We must obey Him. I can't stress enough the important of obedience. Elder Holland once said, "Since obedience is the first law of everything! It's eternal as anything I can ever say to you!" We must do the "little" things. Personal/family/couple prayer and scripture study. Attendance of all church meetings and partaking of the sacrament. Fulfilling our callings the best of our ability. Family home evening. Regular temple attendance, etc. When we can learn to trust the Lord and give Him our will, then we will start to understand the "why" of His laws and principles.

The simple "Elements of Repentance", as outlined in True to the Faith, are:
·  Faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ
·  Sorrow for Sin
·  Confession
·  Abandonment of Sin
·  Restitution
·  Righteous Living 
The Atonement is real, and as we learn to rely on it, we are able to be strengthen. We must learn to lean on it daily. We must acknowledge that repentance and change is only possible because of our loving Savior. Repentance us a painful process, but is the only way we can obtain lasting peace. Although there are steps to be taken, repentance is more than just checking off a list of to do's and calling it good. True repentance requires a change of heart and mind. It requires a change of nature. If we return back to our old ways, it does us no good.

"And now, verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, will not lay any sin to your charge; go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God." (D&C 82:7)

In order to retain a remission of our sins, we must become better and more devoted disciples of Christ after repenting. We must strive to become more Christlike. We must learn to live as He does. He will help us. Although we will mess up everyday, we must not get discouraged, and realize that the Lord is pleased with our efforts and is supporting us in our trials all things that we struggle with. He wants us to succeed and does everything he can to bless us with strength and willpower to carry on.

"For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (Matt. 6:14-15) 

We must be merciful if we wish to obtain mercy. We must realize that we're all on this journey of learning, growing, and progressing. And that we're all on different levels and in different stages of life. We must humble ourselves. Being angry, or holding a grudge, is like drinking poison and hoping it'll kill our enemy. It does us no good. We must forgive and forget if we wish to be happy. We can't and shouldn't let others determine our happiness.

I know that repentance and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only mean by which we can obtain eternal joy in this life, and in the life to come. The Lord teaches us true principles and guides us to this joy, as we are willing to obey.

Stay close to Him.

~Elder Carroll

"Only the Gospel will save the world from the calamity of its own self-destruction." -Ezra Taft Benson

"Repent often! It feels so good." -Mike, Bountiful 45th Ward

Alex went to the Temple!  That's what it's all about!

Our friend Bruce!

Back on the Bike!

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