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Day 11 – Reconciled unto God through Christ

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Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. … God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
~ Romans 5:1-11 ~

A friend is a possession we earn, not a gift. “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” (John 15:14.) The Lord has declared that those who serve him and keep his commandments are called his servants. After they have been tested and tried and are found faithful and true in all things, they are called no longer servants, but friends. His friends are the ones he will take into his kingdom and with whom he will associate in an eternal inheritance. (See D&C 93:45–46.)
~ Marvin J. Ashton – What is a Friend – October 1972 General Conference ~

One of the simplistic teachings of Scripture is that of how the atonement of Jesus Christ reconciles us to God. And it is the heart and purpose behind Christian evangelism. Unfortunately, within the Latter-day Saint community, we do not fully comprehend or appreciate the simplistic truth of this teaching. Sure, we may have studied it in our Sunday school classes, heard some messages from general conference pertaining to reconciliation. However, when it comes to full acknowledgment of spiritual truths – it is somehow missing from our devotions, conversations, and scripture study.

When we turn our thoughts and minds over to Exodus 14:13-15 – there is a reason God wanted to bring Israel out of bondage. To bring them out of a foreign land. To no longer experience the burden and labors of Pharoah. It runs much deeper than God preforming miracles as great signs and wonders unto Pharaoh. Goes even deeper into the blessed hope of bringing the Children of Israel into the land of promise. The simple truth is that the salvation of the Lord we shall see unfold is about reconciling us to Him.

And what exactly are we referring to when we talk of being reconciled unto God? It simply means that we are decisively changed to where we are no longer at enmity with God, and we become friends of God.

No Longer Enemies but Friends

We continue to hold fast to the truth that each one of us are sons and daughters of the Highest. Yet, we are also to become a friend of God. It is something that ought to strongly resonate with us. The reason it ought to strongly resonate within our hearts is because it speaks to the truthfulness, and reality of a friendship that is intimate, mutual, and trusting. And the two greatest examples of men in scripture reveals how true this is: Both Abraham and Moses were referred to as God’s friend. The Savior referred to the disciples that they were no longer his servants – they were his friends. Such spiritual truth ought to stir within your heart, mind, and soul to seek a deeper and more enriching relationship with Christ and our Heavenly Father.

And as friends of God, we are tasked with:

  • Taking the time to listen to Him: when we value God as a friend, we place worth on His thoughts and on His heart. We are ready to hear him – to hearken unto him, and to seek his wisdom and counsel for our lives. We stand ready to listen and do all that he instructs. This is because we love him and care for Him. He is not some distant being that is incomprehensible (as some want us to accept and believe). He is our eternal Father who desires us to attain our inheritance.
  • Courageous and Prayerful Conversations: The many prayers we encounter in scripture come from a place of courage. The conversations are bold and forthright. When Abraham was talking with the Lord about the destruction that will occur at Sodom and Gomorrah – he was bold, courageous and forthright in the conversation. Being a friend of God means we are open and honest with him – as he is open and honest with us. There is autonomy and freedom in such a relationship. Imagine the significant impact of your prayers when you have a true and courageous conversation with the Lord. Specifically, when we esteem God with our honesty, we are able to ask questions and go deeper when he calls us to action. And believe it or not – Our Heavenly Father is seeking those individuals who are willing to have honest conversations with Him. Individuals who are willing to bring issues that are on our hearts – as well as hear the issues and concerns that are on Heavenly Fathers Heart.
  • Willing to Walk in Obedience: Our friendship with God means we are willing to submit ourselves over to His will and desire for our lives. It requires sacrifice on our part as much as it required a sacrifice on our Heavenly Father’s part. Today, many are wrapped up in a false sense of salvific security and notion that is bound by cheap grace. True reconciliation and friendship with God require a great deal of sacrifice. This is the true test of our friendship with God. What do we do when we walk away from those moments of prayer, meditation, and personal revelation?

Along with those listed above – we come to know that such a relationship is initiated by our Heavenly Father, through Christ, and that it is not something comprehended within a worldly context (due to its spiritual truth and application) and requires significant cost to us since our Heavenly Father already provided a costly sacrifice to reconcile us to him.

Chosen to be Reconciled unto God

While this simple spiritual truth of being reconciled to our Heavenly Father may be a bit foreign to our Christian viewpoint – we do have a peculiarity of a deeper and more enriching spiritual truth that establishes our understanding of the infinite atonement of Christ. This deeper and more enriching spiritual truth rests upon the plan of salvation that was presented in the Divine Council prior to our mortal existence. We embraced the plan that was presented. Sided with the Savior and knew that we were chosen to come and experience mortality. For us – we were chosen by God through the Infinite atonement to be reconciled unto Him so that we may gain experience, knowledge, and understanding of God’s divine plan and purpose.

Friend of God: His Way and not Our Way

Traditionally, when we think of friendship as mutual – we tend to think in terms of reciprocity. With God, true friendship is not something we declare on our part. Far from it – it is something that God declares on his part. Reason for this is so that we are able to know and do the will of the Father. If it were according to our way – then we’d be declaring unto God to know of our own will and to do that which is within our purpose and understanding. Fortunately, our Heavenly Father (and neither did Jesus Christ) operate according to the will of others. They operate according to their own divine will and purpose – we merely fall in line with that through our willingness to walk in faithful obedience.

Friend of God: Based on our Love and Obedience

The simple truth: If we love Christ. If we love the father – then we are willing to love him and keep all that he has commanded of us. This is because we are called to demonstrate our love for God. We are to demonstrate our love toward others. There is no other way.

Friend of God: Expectation of Bearing Fruits of Righteousness

Finally, it will naturally flow that if we love Christ, walk in faithful obedience to the will of the Father, are reconciled through faith and grace because of the Infinite atonement of Jesus Christ, we shall bring forth fruits of righteousness (Philippians 1:11). And what are these fruits of righteousness that will be brought forth?

Inward fruits of righteousness are (Galatians 5:22):

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Gentleness
  • Goodness
  • Faith

Outward fruits of righteousness we may bring forth:

  • Good speech
  • Good labor and works of Righteousness
  • Charity toward others

By bringing forth fruits in due season and time – we are honored, blessed, encouraged, and growing in faith, grace, truth, and righteousness. If we are not bringing forth fruits of righteousness, we wither and die.

As we go forward with purpose and faith – we do so with the reality and truth that we are working toward reconciliation with our Heavenly Father. Not because we chose him – because he chose us to partake in this mortal existence, to partake of the infinite atonement, and to partake in his Glory and purpose for our lives.

Key Point

Being reconciled to our Heavenly Father, through the infinite atonement of Jesus Christ, we are able to partake in an intimate and deep personal relationship with Him. Through our love and obedience, we bring forth fruits of righteousness. And it is a relationship where we become friends with our Heavenly Father. A relationship that progresses and grows each day through our faithfulness and his graciousness.

Meditate and Ponder

What does it mean for you to be reconciled with God? What impact does this have on your relationship with Christ? With our Heavenly Father? How does this encourage you to seek a deeper and more meaningful time of prayer? What importance is it for you to experience a type of friendship with God where you are able to be nurtured in bringing forth fruits of righteousness?