All who know the scriptures know how important the sacrament is for turning our hearts to what Christ has done for us, is doing for us, and will do for us. Similarly, all who know the scriptures know that the resurrection is the best-documented miracle in the history of the earth, and it is the capstone to the seven steps of the infinite atonement wherein Jesus brought to perfection Heavenly Father’s Plan of Happiness.
The Gospel of John
Last Sunday, as part of our home sacrament meeting worship service, we pursued that question. We read chapters 6 and 7 and 17 in the gospel of John.
As Jesus prayed as recorded in John 17, that prayer was fulfilled in part with the people here in America as he visited them after His resurrection and introduced the sacrament to them. He also shared the Sermon on the Mount with also similar words, but with some significant differences (3 Nephi 12, 13, 14) as he did with the Hebrews in the Holy Land (Matt. 5-7). They internalized his teachings and the sacred promises he gave with the sacrament and they became a pure-in-heart (Zion) people. The description of how they were filled with His light in answer to His prayer in John 17 is beautifully shared in Chapter 19 of Third Nephi.
Clear Explanation of “My Gospel”
We also read 3 Nephi 27:13-21, which is the clearest explanation of “My gospel” anywhere in the scriptures. As He was lifted up (John 12:32–33), so will all of us be lifted up to be judged by Him. We can be sure the judgment will be perfect as it is perfectly tempered with his grace and infinite mercy along with satisfying the perfect law of justice, as part of the infinite atonement.
So, we found the answer to the question, “Is the sacrament tied to the resurrection?” to be No! We can think of the infinite atonement to be in two parts: 1) the unconditional part, and 2) the conditional part. The unconditional part is because of His perfection, the atonement totally overcame the effects of the fall of Adam and Eve, who brought spiritual and physical death into the world, as is explained beautifully by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 and 2 Nephi 9 by Prophet Jacob. All will be resurrected and brought back into the presence of God to be judged.
The Conditional Part of the Atonement is Up To Us
Our choices make all the difference. The conditional part is totally up to us: Will we accept Christ as our Savior, repent of all our sins and be cleansed and sanctified by the blood of His infinite atonement and live His glorious gospel. We cannot perfect ourselves, but He can and will if we will truly come unto Him. The sacrament ordinance allows us to fully partake of this conditional part of the infinite atonement, as we do what the sacrament prayers ask us to do: Moroni 4 and 5. How blessed we are to have the fullness of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
In addition, given a large number of people – especially many of our millennials – who are losing faith because of all the secularism in fulfillment of prophecies by Joseph in Egypt and the Prophet Nephi (2 Nephi 3:11; 1 Nephi 13:38-40) that many would believe the Bible to be a myth and the Book of Mormon would be provided by the Lord to validate the Bible and bring as many as desire back into faith in our Lord and Savior.
This marvelous record further proclaims:
And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be. (1 Nephi 13:37)
The Lord is coming and we have this great promise that this Zion society will be part of the Bride to meet the Bridegroom at His Coming. How exciting is that? Then the full meaning of the sacrament ordinance will come to fruition as we have Him in our midst as the scriptures promise.
David W Allan