19 April 2015

Alma 39:15

Today's Scripture - Alma 39:15

"And now, my son, I would say somewhat unto you concerning the coming of Christ. Behold, I say unto you, that it is he that surely shall come to take away the sins of the world; yea, he cometh to declare glad tidings of salvation unto his people."

Some years ago, President Henry B. Eyring gave a talk that included his earlier reading of the Book of Mormon where he did it at the pace of about one scripture per day. [I was looking for the conference talk where he referred to this, but I can't find it!  I hope I didn't manufacture the memory!]
That sounded like a good idea to me and I have been doing this for several years.  As you can see from the scripture reference above, the progress takes a while.

The whole point is to read that scripture and to think about it that day. I am finding that little nuggets of insight are found in such a study where our usual "hot-rod" reading of a page or a chapter of scripture a day will speed over such "gravel"-sized wisdom that might be missed on the fast-paced super-highway of our modern lives.

In this scripture are two important ideas about the mission of Christ:
  1. "take away the sins of the world" - This is a reference to the atonement, where Christ was resurrected and overcame the effects of Adam's original transgression, which was physical death. Also, the atonement involved Christ's punishment for our individual sins and opened the way for our effective repentance, our purposeful improvement, and our possibility for ultimate exaltation. Adam's sin and its worst consequences was taken away and so to can many effects of our sins be taken away as we follow Christ and repent.
  2. "to declare glad tidings" - This is the "good news" of the Gospel being taught to everyone. It also mentions "unto his people", which could be a reference to the fact that Christ only comes to "his people", the children of Israel, and that it is up to us to go and "declare" the the fruits of Christ's atonement to the rest of the world (the "gentiles" in a term).
 While I was mulling over the atonement, I recalled the plight of a young man in a wheelchair that I met on my mission.  He told me that he had prayed and fasted often to be healed and he was losing his faith in Christ's ability to heal him.  He asked for a blessing, which I dutifully gave although I certainly can't remember what I said then. I am always a little slow in insight, but I get there in time, where I think of what I would have said to that young man. In the grand scope of the atonement, it may or may not be important for a young man to rise from a wheelchair and walk. That young man receives the full benefit of the atonement, including the potential for exaltation, and whatever handicap put him in that wheelchair was now temporary at best given what Christ had done for him (and us all). More worrying would be his loss of faith that would keep him from the best eternal reward.  If it were a choice between celestial glory albeit with mortality in a chair on wheels and the lesser reward that comes with a lack of faith in Christ, I hope I would choose the former.  I hope that young man chose this as well.

The atonement of Christ is meant to provide us a way to become exalted as Christ is.  No matter our circumstances in life, we can take advantage of it!

So, one little scripture stirs up so much (and a lot more that I don't have time to type out).