Saturday, July 14, 2018

Elder D. Todd Christofferson on the joy of choosing to turn to God

Elder D. Todd Christofferson (b. January 24, 1945) was called to the Seventy in 1993, and as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 2008.
"As in the days of Nehor and Korihor, we live in a time not long before the advent of Jesus Christ—in our case, the time of preparation for His Second Coming. And similarly, the message of repentance is often not welcomed. Some profess that if there is a God, He makes no real demands upon us (see Alma 18:5). Others maintain that a loving God forgives all sin based on simple confession, or if there actually is a punishment for sin, 'God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God' (2 Nephi 28:8). Others, with Korihor, deny the very existence of Christ and any such thing as sin. Their doctrine is that values, standards, and even truth are all relative. Thus, whatever one feels is right for him or her cannot be judged by others to be wrong or sinful.
"On the surface such philosophies seem appealing because they give us license to indulge any appetite or desire without concern for consequences. By using the teachings of Nehor and Korihor, we can rationalize and justify anything. When prophets come crying repentance, it 'throws cold water on the party.' But in reality the prophetic call should be received with joy. Without repentance, there is no real progress or improvement in life. Pretending there is no sin does not lessen its burden and pain. Suffering for sin does not by itself change anything for the better. Only repentance leads to the sunlit uplands of a better life. And, of course, only through repentance do we gain access to the atoning grace of Jesus Christ and salvation. Repentance is a divine gift, and there should be a smile on our faces when we speak of it. It points us to freedom, confidence, and peace. Rather than interrupting the celebration, the gift of repentance is the cause for true celebration.
"Repentance exists as an option only because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It is His infinite sacrifice that 'bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance' (Alma 34:15). Repentance is the necessary condition, and the grace of Christ is the power by which 'mercy can satisfy the demands of justice' (Alma 34:16)."
- D. Todd Christofferson, "The Divine Gift of Repentance," General Conference October 2011
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

Elder Christofferson suggests that in our world today, we are seeing an ancient pattern re-expressed: the adversary continues to attempt to confuse believers with philosophical arguments about the nature of God and of sin, getting many off-course with his deceptions. The fundamental nature of eternal principles, commandments, sin, and obedience are so critical to understand. And the interplay of repentance in that situation is perhaps the most critical of all, since that is the key that opens the door to "real progress or improvement in life":

How rarely do we think of repentance in such a positive, encouraging way! It's the source of joy and peace, and even thinking about the prospect of repenting should bring happiness to us. It truly is the reason for celebration and rejoicing in our lives! How grateful we should be, always and forever, for the Atonement of Jesus Christ that makes it possible to us.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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