29 August 2009

The Innocence of a Child - Part 1

"Little children cannot repent; wherefore, it is awful wickedness to deny the pure mercies of God unto them, for they are all alive in him because of his mercy" (Moroni 8:19).

Anyone who gazes lovingly at an infant sees a spark of divinity. Not all realize what they see but most recognize the innocence and goodness of infants. Some, however, do not fully understand the power of the Atonement (not that any of us "fully" do or will in this life!) and so do not understand that little children are declared innocent through the blood of the Lamb. They are clean and pure before God and absolved as we are all of Adam's transgression. Little children receive the pure mercies of God. For those of us who are older, we receive the conditional mercies of God. Some parts of the Lord's grace and mercy are unconditional such as salvation from death. On the other hand, even that is conditional because we had to keep our first estates and choose to follow God's plan of salvation and come here to earth. God's mercy is also conditional because it is based on the goodness of the Savior's life. In other words, the mercy of the atonement was conditional on the Savior offering himself as the unblemished sacrificial lamb.

There stands a great balance in heaven. When our lives are placed in the scale to each of us it is said, "Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting" (Daniel 5:27). With that we are subject to the demands of justice. Each of us is weighed down with the chains of justice. Justice is not always negative; in fact, justice is what allows us eternal freedom and progression. However, none of us as imperfect humanity can satisfy the demands of justice. We all fall short. We all incur great debt, a debt that none of us can repay. We are all like the servant who owed his master the king 10,000 talents (Matt. 18:23-35). That is an enormous sum none of us can repay. As merciful as God is, He cannot deny justice. Justice is a law that cannot be broken. The debt must be repaid.

There is One who is willing to pay the price of our sins. He not only is willing but also able to pay the debt that hangs in the balance. He is able to pay the price for all of us; He can pay for all of our debts combined, and then some. In this way is the debt satisfied. He fulfills the law of mercy while paying the debt due justice. Jesus Christ was the only One who could pay the price of sin and death. He only could unlock the way to Heaven to let us in. Cecil Alexander wrote of Jesus' sacrifice for us:

There is a green hill far away,
Without a city wall,
Where the dear Lord was crucified,
Who died to save us all.

We may not know, we cannot tell,
What pains he had to bear,
But we believe it was for us
He hung and suffered there.

There was no other good enough
To pay the price of sin.
He only could unlock the gate
Of heav’n and let us in.

Oh, dearly, dearly has he loved!
And we must love him too,
And trust in his redeeming blood,
And try his works to do. (Source).

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