How can you help members of your quorum or Relief Society understand how the priesthood helps make the blessings of the Savior’s Atonement available to them? You might write these two headings on the board: “Why we need the Atonement of Jesus Christ” and “How the priesthood ‘delivers’ the blessings of the Atonement to us.” Then invite members to search Elder Renlund’s message, looking for phrases to write under each heading. How do the priesthood and its ordinances help fulfill Heavenly Father’s purposes for His children?
Why we need the Atonement of Jesus Christ
The atoning power of Jesus Christ is essential because none of us can return to our heavenly home without help. In mortality, we invariably make mistakes and violate God’s laws. We become stained by sin and cannot be allowed back to live in God’s presence. We need the Savior’s atoning power so that we can be reconciled to Heavenly Father. Jesus Christ broke the bands of physical death, allowing resurrection for all. He offers forgiveness of sins, conditioned on obedience to the laws and ordinances of His gospel. Through Him, exaltation is offered. The opportunity to benefit from the Savior’s atoning power is creation’s most important payload.
‘As descendants of Adam and Eve, all people inherit the effects of the Fall. In our fallen state, we are subject to opposition and temptation. When we give in to temptation, we are alienated from God, and if we continue in sin, we experience spiritual death, being separated from His presence. We are all subject to temporal death, which is the death of the physical body (see Alma 42:6-9; D&C 29:41-42).
The only way for us to be saved is for someone else to rescue us. We need someone who can satisfy the demands of justice—standing in our place to assume the burden of the Fall and to pay the price for our sins. Jesus Christ has always been the only one capable of making such a sacrifice.’ (Gospel Topics – Atonement of Jesus Christ)
Elder Scott bears his testimony of the beauty and wonder of the atonement, and encourages us to ponder about and prayerfully gain knowledge of its power in our lives. (2:51)
How the priesthood ‘delivers’ the blessings of the Atonement to us.
For Heavenly Father’s purposes to be accomplished, Christ’s atoning power needs to be made available to God’s children. The priesthood delivers these opportunities. It is the rocket. Priesthood is essential because necessary ordinances and covenants on earth are administered only by its authority. If the priesthood fails to deliver the opportunity to benefit from the Savior’s atoning power, what would be its purpose? Would it just be a complex, attention-grabbing firecracker? God intends priesthood to be used for more than just a class on Sunday or as a service opportunity. He intends for it to deliver the payload.
“Life is a homeward journey for all of us, back to the presence of God in his celestial kingdom.
“Ordinances and covenants become our credentials for admission into His presence. To worthily receive them is the quest of a lifetime; to keep them thereafter is the challenge of mortality” (Boyd K Packer in Conference Report, Apr. 1987, 27; or Ensign, May 1987, 24).
“A covenant is a sacred agreement between God and a person or group of people. God sets specific conditions, and He promises to bless us as we obey those conditions. When we choose not to keep covenants, we cannot receive the blessings, and in some instances we suffer a penalty as a consequence of our disobedience.
“All the saving ordinances of the priesthood are accompanied by covenants” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference , 44).
Joseph Smith declared, “All men who become heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ will have to receive the fulness of the ordinances of his kingdom; and those who will not receive all the ordinances will come short of the fullness of that glory, if they do not lose the whole.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p 309
What impressions come to you as you ponder the covenants you have made with your Heavenly Father?
What goals can you set to increase your ability to honor your covenants?
What blessings have you received because of ordinances and covenants?