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Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson 6: Jesus Christ, Our Savior and Redeemer

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Image from lds.org.

Jesus Christ is the focus around which our religion centers. This lesson can only look at the highlights of what he means to us and the lives we lead. As you study this lesson think about where you stand in relation to what you know about Jesus Christ. Blessings are only given because we live the truths that we know. If we do not live up to our level of knowledge then we are depriving ourselves of blessings, both here and in eternity. So take some time to reflect as you study the lesson.

We Have Been Redeemed

The first time we committed a sin, broke an eternal commandment, we sold ourselves into slavery. From that moment on we were spiritually dead and eternally separated from God, our Father. That misuse of our agency cut us off from His presence, and there is nothing any of us can personally do that can reverse that mistake or misdeed. We needed someone else to pay the penalty of the broken law(s) for us, since we don’t have the capacity to do it for ourselves.

This is the role of Christ in our lives. He redeemed our souls. That means that He paid the price for us that we could not pay for ourselves. He paid the ransom for our souls at great cost and immeasurable personal suffering, for the payment he made included the misdeeds of every man, woman, and child of age in the entire family of God. Christ is a man of infinite capacity and infinite love. He paid our price because of His love for each of us.

There are two parts to the life of Christ in mortality. The first part was His accomplishment of living a life that was in complete harmony and accord with the will of the Father. Not once in His 33 years in mortality did He ever lose His temper and lash out, do something selfish, rebel about anything, or act in a willful way. His whole life was focused on accomplishing the will of our Father. The end result of that obedience was that He was qualified, when the time came, to atone for the sins of all men who would repent.

The second part of Jesus Christ’s mission was bound up in His inherent power over death. No one could kill him. He had to voluntarily give up His life. And by the same token, He could take up His body at will after He died, which He did three days after His death. The first half of His mission opened the door for us to be able to repent of our sins. The second half of His mission guaranteed each and every living soul the promise of a resurrection at some point in the future. All of us will receive a glorified body that will last forever. The amount of glory our individual bodies have will depend on our level of righteousness when it comes time for the resurrection.

Jesus Christ Lives Today

The resurrection of Christ is the single most universal thing done by anyone who has ever lived in mortality. The resurrection affects every human throughout history. This also means that Jesus also has His body. To be resurrected means to inseparably unite a spirit with its body. In this unified state, we will live forever as a body of flesh and bones.

To the Latter-day Saints this is a no brainer because it is what we were raised believing. To the rest of Christianity, resurrection is not so clear cut. Some believe Christ was resurrected, but no longer has His body; others believe He has it around to be used when He needs it. As to our resurrection, most other religions believe we will all be resurrected with some kind of eternal body, but no glory will be attached to it.

The important point here is that Christ still lives and loves us. His payment for our sins is still in force, and He is still our advocate with the Father in all things. We still pray to the Father in His name, and we still look forward to His second coming.

We Worship a Living Christ

Because we still believe Christ is alive, we worship a real and tangible being. He is tangible because that is what a resurrected being is. He will be our judge at the judgment bar of God, so we need to be faithful in our fulfillment of His commandments. President Benson said:

"A most priceless blessing available to every member of the Church is a testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ and His church. A testimony is one of the few possessions we may take with us when we leave this life."

He goes on to say that “the knowledge of the divinity of Christ and of the resurrection is available to every member of the Church, if we seek it.” In order for us to exercise our faith in Christ, we need to gain a witness from the Spirit that he lives, and that he really is the son of God.

Exercise Faith in Christ

Faith is a principle of power. Faith is belief that is put to work. We cannot say we have faith in Jesus if we only acknowledge that He exists. Faith in Him means we live by His teachings, we pray to the Father in His name, and we trust in His promises of a glorious resurrection and live our lives accordingly. Without demonstrating our love for our fellow men and for God, how can we say we live the first two great commandments? Without works faith does not exist.

The commandments we have received from Christ are laws of happiness. As we prayerfully seek God’s help to live our lives in conformity to his commandments, we find increasingly greater amounts of joy in our lives. That is the nature of the righteous life.

"That [person] is greatest and most blessed and joyful whose life most closely approaches the pattern of the Christ. This has nothing to do with earthly wealth, power, or prestige. The only true test of greatness, blessedness, joyfulness is how close a life can come to being like the Master, Jesus Christ. He is the right way, the full truth, and the abundant life."

As President Benson says above, an abundant life has nothing to do with wealth. An abundant life is filled with the joy of service, the knowledge of God, and the love of all mankind. No wealth can give such things, for wealth is a telestial possession. Love, knowledge, and joy in the Lord are celestial possessions.

Conclusion

In summary, we believe in a living, breathing, physical Christ. Jesus was resurrected, therefore He has a body as tangible as man’s. That is the definition of resurrection. He is our advocate with the Father, and it is He who paid the price for our multitude of sins. Only through humble prayer and seeking forgiveness from Him can we change our lives to become more like Him. We live the first two great commandments by worshiping our Father in the name of His son, Jesus Christ, and we live Christ-like lives by exercising our faith, our belief in Christ, by serving our fellow travelers here in mortality. We ease one another’s burdens and pray for one another. We are kind to each other, and we keep Christ’s commandments.

Read President Ezra Taft Benson's teachings at lds.org.

Kelly likes to keep the gospel simple. For more of his articles and lesson helps go to his website, http://mormonbasics.com.