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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Jesus Christ = Protection

Face it.  Incident to the human condition is a test of character, the dangers of human flaws, sins and weaknesses.  Sometimes it can seem overwhelming if we focus on it too much but thanks be to God for providing His Son, Jesus Christ, as a means of protection.

As the third in the current series of articles:

#3 Jesus Christ = Protection

I'll present this concept in three parts, what, how and why.

What

What I'm referring to with "what" isn't about "what is protection" but rather the question "from what does the Savior protect us?"  It's easy to think of protection as a lack of trial or difficulty or peaceful and pleasant circumstances, but that's not always the case, nor does it need to be.  I am reminded of what Elder Neal A. Maxwell said, "Of course Jesus noticed the tremendous temptations that came to him, but He did not process and reprocess them. Instead, He rejected them promptly."  Though Jesus was entitled to perfect protection from His Father through His perfect obedience, that protection did not serve as an exemption from affliction or relief from the pains of a mortal body.  Rather, it protected Him from the ignorance of forgetfulness, being quickened by the Spirit at all times, and from fear of neglect from on high among other things.  His perfect obedience acted as a shield to Him by rendering Him impervious to the consequences of mortal weakness and sin for Himself.  He did not yield to the chemical, carnal inclinations of the mortal body in heart, mind, word or action and, therefore, of Himself, was not subject to the effects of succumbing to those things.

So how do we get the same kind of protection?  Asking anyone who is not He to live in completely flawless obedience to all of God's laws all the time is obviously ridiculous, but this is where Jesus' atoning sacrifice, made in love, comes into play.  Since He paid the compensatory price for all of our weaknesses, suffering and other ungodly conditions of mortality, He is now in a position to provide us relief from the effects of mortality when we obey Him.  As our Mediator with the Father and His justice, Christ can match our level of obedience and commitment to Him with a balanced level of His love and a measure of the Holy Ghost in our hearts that negates the long term effects of our suffering on our mind and heart, even right in the middle of it.  He paid the price for it, so, because He deserves it, He can provide is with that protection.

How

How does it work?  I love what Elder D. Todd Christofferson said, "I don't think everyone realizes that when we do sin, when we turn away from God, it does something in us, and when we repent and turn to Him, that effect in us is taken away. With [Christ's] Atonement, we become different people than we would be without it and it's power is infinite, truly infinite, and can reach down and sanctify and make holy any soul."  When we seek to change and obey Jesus more faithfully and consistently, His atonement takes effect in our lives and, for His sake, we are provided a protection perfectly balanced with our burdens.  Consider Doctrine and Covenant 3:20, "And that the Lamanites might come to the knowledge of their fathers, and that they might know the promises of the Lord, and that they may believe the gospel and rely upon the merits of Jesus Christ, and be glorified through faith in his name, and that through their repentance they might be saved...".  That part where it says "rely upon the merits of Jesus Christ and by glorified through faith in his name" is key.  I wrote a song a while ago for which a few of the lyrics are "His Son is Jesus my Savior, Redeemer of mankind. One in purpose with Father, His reward is me if I but follow Him."  That's exactly how it works.  He lived a perfect life and, therefore, His merits are really the only merits that have eternal significance for our salvation.  Because He did not need to suffer for His own salvation, the price He paid for us warrants our protection, re-balancing the scales of justice in His favor to the degree that we follow Him.

Why

Oh, that universal question, why?  Why are we alive?  Why do we suffer?  Why does the universe behave the way it does?  Why does religion matter?  Why should we obey God? In my opinion, the reason is the same for all those questions.  Love.  Why do the elements obey Him?  Because of His love for His creations.  Why do we get His protection?  Because of His love as shown through the person and atonement of Jesus Christ.

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In short we are protected, as with an eternal shield, from the eternal effects of our mortality on our mind and heart by means of His merits, mercy and grace, because He loves us; and the way to activate that protection is by obeying His laws as fearlessly as possible and acting in faith and love to Him.