Within the last 10 minutes I have heard a man, speaking of the atonement, say “we have to accept our limitations” followed by another woman saying something akin to “we need to allow Christ to make up the difference”. Both thought they were explaining the doctrine of the atonement.
Accept our limitations? How about if we face our rationalizations instead.
We know that the city of Enoch lived with Christ among them for many years before it was translated.
This was not the mortal Christ in meekness and poverty, this was Jehovah come to reign among them as their god. Remember that god cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance. And yet here, Jehovah himself, was living day to day, month to month, and year upon year among a group of mortals.
How could this happen? Let me paint two alternatives for you.
Alternative 1. The reason Christ came and lived among these people was because they learned to accept their limitations and learned to let Christ make up the difference in their lives. They lived no better than we do in particular, because we are just as good as anyone else, or if we aren’t it isn’t our fault that we aren’t. So Christ came and lived with them for years on end. But it was not because these people lived up to the commandments so well that they could literally dwell comfortably in the presence of God as mortals.
Alternative 2. These people, who were initially wicked, learned to keep the commandments, follow the Holy Ghost, and feast upon the word so well that they, as a people lived up to their privileges. They were enabled to live better than the natural man possibly can by having the Holy Ghost as a constant companion in their lives, and thus they became saints of God in earnest. They learned to grow into the principle of revelation line upon line, learned by the mouths of angels, by the voice of the Lord from time to time, and eventually learned to live so well that Christ came and dwelt among them.
Zion is not a counterexample, showing that men don’t need the atonement.
Zion is the great example of what the atonement intended for man. When we say “nobody’s perfect” we should instead say “everybody in Zion lived so that Jehovah, who cannot tolerate the least sin, came and dwelt among them for a great many years”.
These wicked men who Enoch taught who built Zion were forgiven through the atonement. Then they kept the commandments. What if the doctrine among them was “nobody’s perfect”? That would have killed the whole thing. Zion would have failed. That doctrine is poisonous to the effects of the atonement, for its stops men in their tracks. There is no better way to separate a man from his labor than to convince him that he labors in vain. Progressing is work! And once you convince people that they are working too hard, the vast majority will lay down their efforts.
Our model of the atonement is not the woman taken in adultery. Christ did not actually even forgive her if you read the text. He didn’t utter the phrase “thy sins are forgiven thee”. He told her instead that he would not condemn her to death, and said “go and sin no more”.
Our model of the atonement is Zion. It is Salem, in which Melchizedek brought a wicked people to repent and to even be translated into heaven with Zion in a fraction of the time that the city of Zion itself was.
Salem and Zion are the model of what the atonement is supposed to accomplish. That is why we call the Melchizedek priesthood after Melchizedek. So we could remember what redemption in its fullest form looks like and how it is brought about.
Every time we say “Melchizedek priesthood” we should remember that instead of teaching “Nobody’s perfect” we should remember that “through the atonement and the gift of the Holy Ghost wicked men can become saints who live so rightly that God himself, who cannot tolerate the least sin, will come and make his place with them.”
We, particularly, should remember that. Building Zion is, itself, the great task of our dispensation.
Accept our limitations?!? Let Christ make up the difference?!?
What rubbish. How about cast off our rationalizations, and go to our god with tears and prayers in apology that we have lived so far beneath our privileges so vainly so long and beg him to show us the path we may follow to repent and delight him in righteousness once again as Enoch’s people. For that is what he called us to do.