I am preparing lesson 19 in Gospel Principle and am concerned about the statement made near the...
end of page 111. It says "To make our repentance complete we must keep the commandment of the Lord. We are not fully repentant if we do not pay tithes or keep the Sabbath day holy or obey the Word of Wisdom...etc" It seems we will never be repentant for none of us but Christ completely obeyed all the commandments. How do I explain and clarify this statement?
Acts 17:30 (NIV) In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.James 5:19- "
He is faithful - To his promises. He will do what he has assured us he will do in remitting them.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.John 1:9
And just to forgive us our sins - The word "just" here cannot be used in a strict and proper sense, since the forgiveness of sins is never an act of justice, but is an act of mercy. If it were an act of justice it could be demanded or enforced, and that is the same as to say that it is not forgiveness, for in that case there could have been no sin to be pardoned. But the word "just" is often used in a larger sense, as denoting upright, equitable, acting properly in the circumstances of the case, etc. Compare the notes at Matthew 1:19. Here the word may be used in one of the following senses:
(1) Either as referring to his general excellence of character, or his disposition to do what is proper; that is, he is one who will act in every way as becomes God; or,
(2) that he will be just in the sense that he will be true to his promises; or that, since he has promised to pardon sinners, he will be found faithfully to adhere to those engagements; or perhaps,
(3) that he will be just to his Son in the covenant of redemption, since, now that an atonement has been made by him, and a way has been opened through his sufferings by which God can consistently pardon, and with a view and an understanding that he might and would pardon, it would be an act of injustice to him if he did not pardon those who believe on him.
Viewed in either aspect, we may have the fullest assurance that God is ready to pardon us if we exercise true repentance and faith. No one can come to God without finding him ready to do all that is appropriate for a God to do in pardoning transgressors; no one who will not, in fact, receive forgiveness if he repents, and believes, and makes confession; no one who will not find that God is just to his Son in the covenant of redemption, in pardoning and saving all who put their trust in the merits of his sacrifice.
And to cleanse us from all unrighteousness - By forgiving all that is past, treating us as if we were righteous, and ultimately by removing all the stains of guilt from the soul.
I would simply say that not one of us is going to be perfect in all things, and yet our intent must be to do our best in keeping the commandments.
Also, as an instructor you are basically a facilitator in creating a positive discussion during your lesson and are not required to have all the answers. I would suggest that you open this statement up for discussion amongst class members. I suspect they will ultimately come to a good conclusion.
Remember, if we were or even had the potential of being perfect in this life, we would have had no need for the atonement. But we aren't and all of us do!
One of the blessings of being a teacher is that you also become the student. Let me know how it goes.
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