Monday, October 16, 2017

Elder Dale G. Renlund on the Priesthood and the Atonement of Jesus Christ

Elder Dale G. Renlund (born November 13, 1952) served in the First Quorum of Seventy starting in 2009, until his call to the Quorum of Twelve in October 2015.
"Because of His atoning sacrifice, Jesus Christ has the power and authority to redeem all mankind. To make His atoning power accessible, He has delegated a portion of His power and authority to men on earth. This delegated power and authority is called priesthood. It permits priesthood holders to help Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in Their work—to bring about the salvation and exaltation of God’s children. It does so because it provides His children the opportunity to receive the blessings of the Savior’s atoning power.
"The atoning power of Jesus Christ is essential because none of us can return to our heavenly home without help. In mortality, we invariably make mistakes and violate God’s laws. We become stained by sin and cannot be allowed back to live in God’s presence. We need the Savior’s atoning power so that we can be reconciled to Heavenly Father. Jesus Christ broke the bands of physical death, allowing resurrection for all. He offers forgiveness of sins, conditioned on obedience to the laws and ordinances of His gospel. Through Him, exaltation is offered. The opportunity to benefit from the Savior’s atoning power is creation’s most important payload.
"For Heavenly Father’s purposes to be accomplished, Christ’s atoning power needs to be made available to God’s children. The priesthood delivers these opportunities. It is the rocket. Priesthood is essential because necessary ordinances and covenants on earth are administered only by its authority. If the priesthood fails to deliver the opportunity to benefit from the Savior’s atoning power, what would be its purpose? Would it just be a complex, attention-grabbing firecracker? God intends priesthood to be used for more than just a class on Sunday or as a service opportunity. He intends for it to deliver the payload."
- Dale G. Renlund, "The Priesthood and the Savior’s Atoning Power," General Conference October 2017
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

Elder Renlund used the analogy of a rocket delivering a satellite payload into space; the satellite is completely useless on earth, and only becomes a powerful influence when it has been delivered to its appropriate destination. In his analogy, the atonement of Jesus Christ becomes useful and powerful in our lives only when "delivered" by priesthood actions including ordinances and sacred covenants.

We should all be grateful for this divine blessing and seek continually to receive blessings and power from God through the priesthood on earth. Those who are called and ordained to administer those blessings, to "deliver the payload," must never forget what a sacred trust they have that must be exercised in faithfulness.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

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