Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Repentance Brings Peace

The simple doctrine of repentance is such a beautiful one. Because of the gift of the Atonement we are given the ability to repent of choices that we have personally made, that might not be in line with the will of the Father. This “second chance” or clean slate is made possible because Jesus Christ supplied the demands of the law, subdued all things and retained all power to judge. Because we have the ability to repent we can feel peace, even on the earth today.

In Section 19 verse 23 the Savior instructs us on the process of coming to know Him and feeling this peace.

“Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me.”

This is a process that involves action on our part. The first action we are required to do is to learn of Him and listen to His words, or in other words to “hear”. Next we are asked to walk in the meekness of my Spirit, or to try it and “see”. This then culminates in the process of feeling that peace, allowing you to “know” for yourself that the power of the Atonement is real.

This process of hear, see, feel, and know are illustrated beautifully in The Book of Mormon in 3 Nephi chapter 11. It is here, in the account given of the Saviors visit to the American continent after his death and resurrection, that we see this process take place for the Saints at Bountiful.


3 Nephi 11: 3 And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn.

4 And it came to pass that again they heard the voice, and they understood it not.

5 And again the third time they did hear the voice, and did open their ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came.

6 And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard; and it said unto them:

7 Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him.


8 And it came to pass, as they understood they cast their eyes up again towards heaven; and behold, they saw a Man descending out of heaven; and he was clothed in a white robe; and he came down and stood in the midst of them; and the eyes of the whole multitude were turned upon him, and they durst not open their mouths, even one to another, and wist not what it meant, for they thought it was an angel that had appeared unto them.

The first thing the Savior did when the people saw Him was to stretch for his hand and explain that He was the Creator as well as the Savior and Redeemer. When the people heard Him and saw Him they fell to the earth because they remembered it had been prophesied He would come. Their encounter simply does not stop there.


13 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto them saying:

14 Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole dearth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.

“There is a gruesome quality to this command. In our culture we hide scars, we don’t display them, and we certainly don’t ask others to feel them. But Christ wanted these people to have physical contact with these emblems of His suffering.” Thomas B. Griffith

After the people had gone forth one by one and felt for themselves they respond in a different way than at first.

7 Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him.

This shout of Hosanna simply means, “save us now”. They not only fell down out of remembrance this time, but because of the process of hearing, seeing, and feeling they now knew, and worshiped.

Every Sunday you and I have physical contact with the emblems of Christ’s suffering in a similar way that those people did, by way of the Sacrament. We can hear, see, feel and know of His role as our Savior and Redeemer and in turn worship and have peace in our lives.

Do you remember the transforming effect that the experience had on the people in the Book of Mormon? They were now prepared to be organized anew into a church community, to hear and put into practice the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount, to learn how to serve those who were powerless: the sick, the disabled, the children. This group transformed their society from one that had been divided by race and class and opportunity into a society in which:

4 Nephi 1:3 And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.

15 And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.

It began with a group of people who came to know Christ as their Savior because of the transforming experience of having physical contact with the emblems of His suffering, and we do that every week!

This is exactly the process that was followed in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ and the restoration in the latter days. In Section 19 of the Doctrine and Covenants the Saints were being prepared for the establishment of the Church and the restoration of the Sacrament, which would once again allow them to hear, see, feel, know and have peace.

No comments: