June 7, 2020 - To be better

In the past I had a picture in my mind of what the final judgment would be like, and it went something like this: Jesus standing there with a clipboard and Brad standing on the other side of the room nervously looking at Jesus.
Jesus checks His clipboard and says, “Oh, shoot, Brad. You missed it by two points.”
Brad begs Jesus, “Please, check the essay question one more time! There have to be two points you can squeeze out of that essay."
That’s how I always saw it.
But the older I get, and the more I understand this wonderful plan of redemption, the more I realize that in the final judgment it will not be the unrepentant sinner begging Jesus, “Let me stay.” No, [the sinner] will probably be saying, “Get me out of here!” Knowing Christ’s character, I believe that if anyone is going to be begging on that occasion, it would probably be Jesus begging the unrepentant sinner, “Please, choose to stay. Please, use my Atonement—not just to be cleansed but to be changed so that you want to stay.”

Brad Wilcox, "His Grace Is Sufficient", BYU Speeches, July 12, 2011


The grace of Christ is not just about correcting action but also about changing attitude. He paid the price for us so that what we do wrong can and will be forgiven, because of His mercy, as long as we do our part to repent. That's one part of His sacrifice.


But.....the purpose of His Atonement is not just so we can start again with a clean slate after we repent....only to repeat the same mistake again, and thus repent again. The purpose of the Atonement is to change our heart, our attitude, so that we no longer want to repeat the same mistake again.


He asks us to repent, not because He wants us to repay Him for the debt He paid for us. He doesn't want or need the "money". He asks us, however, to repent because, if we repent sincerely, it starts a process of change in our hearts.


It's like when we play a sport, most likely we want to get better, so we practice. Practice, practice, practice. We will make mistakes as we practice. When it's something we want, we put in the work without being compelled.



But what about practicing for something that our parents want us to do, like piano, but it's not necessarily our first choice. They are "compelling" us to practice. They see the bigger picture of us practicing piano though. They see how life would be better for us. We don't see that overall picture....yet. All we have to do is practice, get better. We practice because they're making us, but soon, as we become less selfish, we realize that they put everything into this so we could have this opportunity. They paid the fees. They made the sacrifice. So, we practice out of gratitude for what they did. For the price they paid. We are no longer being compelled to practice, we do it because we want to.


Christ has done the same thing, but on a completely different level. He paid the price. He made the sacrifice. All we have to do is practice. Read the scriptures, pray, pay tithing, go to church, study Come, Follow Me, etc. As we become less self focused, we choose to get better because we want to pay Him back for what He did.


The more we understand what He did, the more grateful we become. That gratefulness is what compels us to change. We will want to pay Him back.

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