Thursday, August 30, 2012

Answering or Skirting the Ends of the Law?

2 Nephi 2:7 "Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law,"

What are the "ends of the law"? Did God give commandments he never intended that we obey? No, we learn in 1 Nephi 3:7 that God never gives a commandment that He does not expect us to obey. The purpose or "ends" of God's commandments are that we learn to obey them and thereby receive the blessings and happiness which are predicated upon our obedience to those laws.

2 Nephi 2:22. Many LDS have trouble with this because it sounds like Lehi is saying we should all be grateful for Adam's transgression and that God gave contrary commendments which would seem to contradict 1Ne3:7.

It is my opinion that Lehi is first giving us Adam's good intended reason for transgressing after Eve had already partaken. The Bible only give us Eve's reason for partaking of the fruit (for knowledge). According to Adam's perspective, he thought he had to transgress to keep the other commandments: to multiply and remain with Eve. However, Adams perspective is not necessarliy God's perspective. There was likely another way. But Adams good intentions are good to know.

I also think Lehi could be saying that it's the commandments (law) of God that we should be thankful for and not just the transgression part. Had there been no commandments then there would have been no transgression nor command to multiply. Had there been no transgression, Adam would have not known sin, pain, etc. thus he wouldn't have had any concept of joy and happiness which was the default setting in the garden (no concept of warm if you had never been cold). And through the Atonement of Christ, God has provided the way whereby we can eventually obey all Gods commandments. This is how the atonement of Christ answers the ends of the law rather than skirting it.

When God gives us commandments, does He know we will transgress them? Yes. He knows we will initially. But He also knows that he has given us the Atonement of Christ and time to repent and eventually obey 100%. In the meantime we experience pain, and learn to appreciate joy. Therefore, through the process of repentance, and empowered obedience, this is how the Atonement of Christ answers the ends of the law.

The LDS Sacrament prayer is an excellent example of the true process of repentance. The prayers over the bread and water used in the LDS Communion or Lords Supper must be recited word perfect. There is no good enough or he gave it a good try. If a word is missed, or misspoken, the priest giving the prayer, recites the prayer again until he says it right. While it might seem harsh to some, the requirement really is a great example of true repentance. God knows its within our power to do it right, and we are given the time and assistance we need to get it right.

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