Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Elder Gerrit W. Gong on the power of the Atonement of Christ

Elder Gerrit W. Gong (born December 23, 1953) was called as a Seventy in April 2010, then to the Presidency of the Seventy in October 2015. He was sustained to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in April 2018.
"Significantly, the Book of Mormon describes the 'power and resurrection of Christ' (Alma 41:2)—the essence of Easter—in terms of two restorations.

"First, resurrection includes physical restoration of our 'proper and perfect frame'; 'every limb and joint,' 'even a hair of the head shall not be lost.' (Alma 40:23.) This promise gives hope to those who have lost limbs; those who have lost ability to see, hear, or walk; or those thought lost to relentless disease, mental illness, or other diminished capacity. He finds us. He makes us whole.

"A second promise of Easter and our Lord’s Atonement is that, spiritually, 'all things shall be restored to their proper order' (Alma 41:4). This spiritual restoration reflects our works and desires. Like bread upon the water, it restores 'that which is good,' 'righteous,' 'just,' and 'merciful' (Alma 41:13). No wonder the prophet Alma uses the word restore 22 times as he urges us to 'deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually' (Alma 41:14).

"Because 'God himself atoneth for the sins of the world' (Alma 42:15), the Lord’s Atonement can make whole not only what was but also what can be. Because He knows our pains, afflictions, sicknesses, our 'temptations of every kind' (Alma 7:11), He can, with mercy, succor us according to our infirmities. (See Alma 7:12.) Because God is 'a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also,' the plan of mercy can 'appease the demands of justice' (Alma 42:15). We repent and do all we can. He encircles us eternally 'in the arms of his love' (2 Ne 1:15)."

- Gerrit W. Gong, "Hosanna and Hallelujah—The Living Jesus Christ: The Heart of Restoration and Easter," General Conference April 2020, Saturday evening

The general conference of April 2020 was held on the traditional weekend of Palm Sunday, one week before Easter. Elder Gong took advantage of that date to talk about the sacred work of the Savior's last week on earth, beginning with the shouts of "Hosanna!" that accompanied His arrival in Jerusalem, and continuing through the "Hallelujah" that represents the salvation offered by his great atoning sacrifice.j

Elder Gong discusses two important "restorations" that are a part of the Savior's contribution: the physical restoration of the resurrection, and the spiritual restoration available through grace and repentance. That concept of restoration is a special and sacred one to those who love and follow the Savior:

One ofen the most beautiful promises in the Gospel plan is that we can be "encircled about eternally in the arms of his love' (2 Ne 1:15). The true power of the promise is that it is available not just in the distant future, but also now; we are in the midst of eternity. We can feel His love, protection, and acceptance as we allow His grace to change and bless us.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2020)

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