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Paying For My Sins, Not So Important

Don - July 5, 2005

After reading the comments from my previous post and doing more pondering I wanted to make a further comment or two myself.

I don’t think that payment for my sins by Christ is the most important part of the atonement. 

Payment only satisfies the demands of justice.  I mentioned before that the process of changing and becoming more Christlike is more important to me.  As the comments before showed, this change can be had through agency.

We know from D&C 19 that if we don’t repent then we get to pay for our own sins.  At some time or another all of our sins will be paid for, either by Christ if we repent, or by us if we don’t.  So what if they are paid for, if I don’t change then the payment has done nothing for me.

Our S.S. lesson sunday was on the 84th section, the oath and covenant of the Priesthood.  There is states that if we don’t magnify the priesthood and break our covenant then we won’t find forgiveness.  That got me thinking that along with D&C 98 where it says Christ will forgive who he wants to and we must forgive everyone, payment has very little if anything to do with forgiveness.

Just because my sins are paid for doesn’t mean they are forgiven.  If they aren’t forgiven then I am still a "sinner" or in sin and am unworthy of exaltation.

Therefore I come back to my original point, the payment for my sins isn’t a big deal.  What is a big deal is that Christ forgives me when I repent and I am clean…and as an added benefit He pays for it too.

Maybe this is such a simple principle everyone already knows this, but to me, I had to think about it.


  1. I’m not sure it makes sense to call forgiveness part of the atonement, Don. It seems to me that the forgiveness you describe is a direct result of the payment that you say is not your favorite part of the atonement. No payment = no forgiveness.

    In fact, it seems to me that the forgiveness you describe will be found eventually for those that pay for their own sins in (temporary) hell. The problem for those folks is that they may or may not have repented (using their agency) and changed the character traits in them that caused them to commit the sins in the first place.

    Anyway, as I posted recently in my parallel set of posts on this subject, the atonement seems to exclusively entail payment for sins and freedom from death (Jacob’s two-headed monster) The atonement overcomes sins by paying for them for us upon our repentance. Forgiveness only comes from God following that process. Therefore, to say that payment for sins is not your favorite part of the atonement makes no sense — other than payment for sins and loosing the bands of death what is there?

    Comment by Geoff J — July 5, 2005 @ 6:02 pm

  2. Geoff, We may be saying the same thing in different ways. To make the atonement valid for me I must repent – change – acknowledge to God my sins and ask that he forgive them. If I meet the criteria He forgives and pays for them.

    But to me the payment part is the least important. If payment for sin was so important then I’d be ok if I paid for them myself, and that doesn’t work because there is no change and no forgiveness if I do the paying.

    You say “…other than payment for sins and loosing the bands of death what is there?” To me there is forgiveness and personal change that comes thru repentence…and to me that’s what’s most important.

    Comment by don — July 5, 2005 @ 9:27 pm

  3. Geoff,
    I’ve read your other parallel posts…interesting I always enjoy your posts and comments.

    Comment by don — July 5, 2005 @ 9:28 pm

  4. Hey Don,
    I’m picking up what your laying down. I agree that personal change is so important in the repentance process.

    With out the refining process of remorse, anguish, etc. and eventually peace than repentance wouldn’t be as meaningful.

    Comment by kristen j — July 6, 2005 @ 8:16 pm

  5. So, what your saying is that, should I go to Hell and pay for my sins there, and I repented there, Jesus would lift me out of there?

    So much for eternal suffering. *thumbs nose at Satan*.

    Comment by Charlie — July 19, 2005 @ 12:10 am

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