Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Thursday, September 12, 2019

“Be Ye Reconciled to God”

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As you read and study this week, lets think about our family members, friends and loved ones, those we know who come to church and those who don’t. How could the principles in this lesson bless them?  Also let's make it a goal to write down some of the gospel principles you discover and ponder how you can apply them in your own life.

Being on the receiving end of some form of correction from a leader is certainly difficult; for both the giver and receiver.  Hurt feelings and misunderstandings can be quick to arise.  It was much the same in the ancient church as it is for us today; and as the loving Apostle that we he was, Paul wrote letters that we will discover, were an attempt to guide, direct, council, and teach with love through adversity in  2 Corinthians 1–7

A previous letter from Paul to the Corinthian Saints included chastening and caused hurt feelings. In the letter that became 2 Corinthians, he tried to explain what had motivated his harsh words: “Out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you”
 When you’re on the receiving end of some correction from a leader, it definitely helps to know that it is inspired by Christlike love. And even in those cases where it is not, if we’re willing to see others with the kind of love Paul felt, it’s easier to respond appropriately to any offenses. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland counseled, “Be kind regarding human frailty—your own as well as that of those who serve with you in a Church led by volunteer, mortal men and women. Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with” (“Lord, I Believe,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2013, 94).

History and Background 
Paul’s Second Epistle to the Corinthians stands out for its themes of comfort in the midst of affliction, strength in the midst of weakness (as exemplified by Paul himself), and the discerning of true teachers from false ones. Paul’s example and teachings recorded in 2 Corinthians serve as a call for all Saints to remain true and faithful to the eternal covenants they have made with God, the Eternal Father, no matter the circumstances or the consequences.

Who wrote 2 Corinthians?  Even though the Second Epistle to the Corinthians states that it was written by the Apostle Paul and Timothy, it is likely that Paul wrote this epistle on behalf of himself and Timothy. The numerous references Paul makes to his own experiences suggest that he alone is the author of this book 

When and where was 2 Corinthians written?  Shortly after Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, a riot developed in Ephesus in opposition to his teachings Acts 19:23–41, and he departed to Macedonia Acts 20:1; 2 Corinthians 2:13; 7:5. It appears that while he was there he wrote 2 Corinthians, likely about A.D. 57. In addition to 1 Corinthians, it is believed that Paul wrote two other letters before writing 2 Corinthians. We know about these letters because Paul mentioned them 1 Corinthians 5:9; 2 Corinthians 2:3–4, 9; 7:8–12.

To whom was 2 Corinthians written and why?  While Paul was in Macedonia, Titus took him news from Corinth that an earlier letter he had sent had been well received by the Saints there.  But Paul also learned of false teachers who were corrupting the pure doctrines of Christ. Sometime after Paul’s initial visit to Corinth is when Paul seems to have chastised some of the Saints.  Preachers from the Jerusalem area had came to Corinth and began teaching the Saints that they must adopt Jewish practices, contrary to Paul’s teachings. Much of 2 Corinthians addresses the problems caused by these unwelcome teachers. Paul referred to them as “false apostles” and “deceitful workers,” who were “transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ” 2 Corinthians 11:13. Some of these men accused Paul of dishonest actions and even challenged his authority as an Apostle.

Paul’s letter addressed both those who desired more of his words and those who had neither the desire to repent nor the inclination to accept his counsel; most obvious in 2 Corinthians 10–13. In general, the text of 2 Corinthians reveals several purposes of this letter: (1) to express gratitude to and strengthen those Saints who responded favorably to his previous letter; (2) to warn of false teachers who corrupted the pure doctrines of Christ; (3) to defend his personal character and authority as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ 2 Corinthians 10–13; and (4) to encourage a generous financial offering from the Corinthian Saints to the impoverished Saints of Jerusalem 2 Corinthians 8–9.

What are some distinctive features of 2 Corinthians?  In response to critics who questioned his apostolic authority and his doctrine, Paul shared autobiographical details of his life and wrote of his “thorn in the flesh” 2 Corinthians 12:7.  While many of Paul’s letters focus on doctrine, much of this letter emphasizes Paul’s relationship with the Corinthian Saints and his love and concern for them. Though Paul was firm in his opposition to critics, throughout 2 Corinthians we see him as a tender priesthood leader caring for the happiness and well-being of the Saints.

In this letter Paul referred to what may have been the most sacred moment in his life. In 2 Corinthians 12:2–4, Paul described himself as “a man in Christ,” who was “caught up to the third heaven,” where he saw and heard unspeakable things. This vision, taken together with his previous doctrinal statement concerning the degrees of glory in the resurrection 1 Corinthians 15:35–44, can be seen as a biblical parallel to Joseph Smith’s vision recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 76.

Chapter Summaries
In the Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians we see evidence of a growing rift between some of the Corinthian Saints and Paul. A small group of Church members in Corinth opposed Paul and wanted him to have less influence among them. Some of the criticism directed at Paul was because he had canceled an earlier promised trip to Corinth; thus, some people felt he was not trustworthy  2 Corinthians 1:15–19. Paul defended his conduct and ministry  2 Corinthians 2:12–17; 3:1–6; 4:1–5; 5:19–20, and he expressed affection for the Corinthians and taught them of the peace that comes from loving and forgiving their fellowmen. He taught them how they could be reconciled to their Heavenly Father through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Paul’s writings can help the reader become a living example of his words: “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men” 2 Corinthians 3:2.

The Doctrine

Part 1:  2 Corinthians 1:3–7; 4:6–10, 17–18; 7:4–7  Our trials can be a blessing
After Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, a riot broke out in Ephesus in response to his teachings. Paul left Ephesus and went to Macedonia, where Titus brought him news that Paul’s earlier letter had been well received by the Saints in Corinth. Paul also learned that the Saints were experiencing tribulations and that some false teachers in Corinth were corrupting the true doctrine of Christ. Paul wrote 2 Corinthians to comfort the Saints and to address the problems these unwelcome teachers had caused
and explained how they would be able to comfort others. He also exhorted them to forgive a sinner who had been in their congregation. Paul taught the Saints that if they turned to the Lord, they would become more like God.

3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.
7 And our hope of you is steadfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.

6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.
5 For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.
6 Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;

7 And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more.

Think of a time when someone you know experienced a difficult trial or affliction.  What did you do to help him or her?  Have you ever wanted to comfort someone during a trial but didn’t know how?

What did Paul tell the Saints about God in 2 Corinthians 1:3 that might have comforted them in their tribulations? 3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;

As Paul wrote about the tribulations suffered by the Saints, he repeatedly used the words “comfort,” “consolation,” and “delivered.” God’s comfort is a dominant theme throughout the first few chapters of 2 Corinthians. Paul related with strong and heartfelt language a severe trial he and his companions had suffered in Asia  2 Corinthians 1:8–10 to teach that the Lord does not leave His followers to suffer alone. By relying on the Lord rather than just on himself, Paul was able to endure this time of deep despair.

President Thomas S. Monson taught: “In order to be tested, we must sometimes face challenges and difficulties. At times there appears to be no light at the tunnel’s end—no dawn to break the night’s darkness. We feel surrounded by the pain of broken hearts, the disappointment of shattered dreams, and the despair of vanished hopes. We join in uttering the biblical plea ‘Is there no balm in Gilead?’ [Jeremiah 8:22.] We are inclined to view our own personal misfortunes through the distorted prism of pessimism. We feel abandoned, heartbroken, alone. If you find yourself in such a situation, I plead with you to turn to our Heavenly Father in faith. He will lift you and guide you. He will not always take your afflictions from you, but He will comfort and lead you with love through whatever storm you face” (“Looking Back and Moving Forward,” Ensign May 2008, 90).

What truth can we learn from 2 Corinthians 1:4 about what we can do as we receive Heavenly Father’s comfort?  When Heavenly Father comforts us in our tribulations, we are able to help others receive His comfort.

Paul taught that those who have received God’s comfort in their tribulations are then able to comfort others who have tribulations. The commitment to comfort others is a hallmark of our Christian discipleship and a requirement for baptism  Mosiah 18:8–10. Elder Orson F. Whitney taught:

“To whom do we look, in days of grief and disaster, for help and consolation? … [We look to] men and women who have suffered, and out of their experience in suffering they bring forth the riches of their sympathy and condolences as a blessing to those now in need. Could they do this had they not suffered themselves?

“… Is not this God’s purpose in causing his children to suffer? He wants them to become more like himself. God has suffered far more than man ever did or ever will, and is therefore the great source of sympathy and consolation”
(“A Lesson from the Book of Job,” Improvement Era, Nov. 1918, 7; see also James E. Faust, “Refined in Our Trials,” Ensign Feb. 2006, 5)

How has receiving God’s comfort during a trial helped you help someone else receive His comfort?  

The experiences Paul described and the counsel he gave in 2 Corinthians can help us think about the blessings that can come from our trials.
In 2 Corinthians 1:3–7; 4:6–10, 17–18; and 7:4–7, what did Paul teach about the purposes and blessings of trials? God “comforteth you in all your tribulation” how can you in turn, “comfort them which are in any trouble” 2 Corinthians 1:4.  The light of Jesus Christ  “hath shined in our hearts,” even when you are “troubled” and “perplexed” 2 Corinthians 4:6–10.

Paul told the Saints in Corinth about the severe and life-threatening tribulations he and his companions had experienced while preaching the gospel in Ephesus.  

What did Paul teach helped he and his companions during their trials?  Our prayers can help those who are experiencing trials.

In 2 Corinthians 4:17–18 what truths did Paul teach the Saints about trials and afflictions? 
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

In his letter to the Saints in Corinth, Paul taught that the trials and afflictions of this life are temporary and small compared to the blessings of eternity. He also taught the Saints about the Judgment and testified that Jesus Christ made it possible for us to be reconciled to God.

He wanted to help them see the larger context of their tribulations. Paul assured the Saints that he had truthfully preached the gospel to them. He taught that Satan, “the god of this world” works to keep people from accepting the gospel. Paul compared himself and his fellow ministers to clay pots that contain the “treasure” of “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God”

Why is it important to see our afflictions in the larger context of Heavenly Father’s plan?  Our trials and afflictions in this life are small compared to the everlasting blessings and growth that come as we faithfully endure them.  Because temporary afflictions can bring about eternal growth and glory, we need not despair in times of trouble. There is eternal purpose in our afflictions, even when we cannot see it in mortality.

When have you seen someone remain strong during trials because they saw their afflictions in the larger context of Heavenly Father’s plan?  

Part 2: 2 Corinthians 2:5–11 We receive blessings and bless others when we forgive

In this section of scripture, Paul wrote about a Church member who had sinned against other Church members and had caused them grief.  As a result, the Church had disciplined this man.  We’ve all had experiences when someone has “caused grief” to us or our family. In 2 Corinthians 2:5–11, Paul gives counsel about how to treat someone who has offended us. 

5 But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all.
6 Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.
7 So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.
8 Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.
9 For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.
10 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;

11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

What did Paul say about how the Saints should treat this man? 2 Corinthians 2:7–8 even though this man had sinned, the worth of his soul is great in the sight of God  D&C 18:10.  Paul exhorted the Saints to forgive, comfort, and love this man to help him repent.

2 Corinthians 2:9–11 teaches another reason why Paul said the Saints should forgive others what is it?  If we do not forgive others, Satan will have an advantage over us.

Forgiving others does not mean that the sinner should not be held accountable for his or her actions. Nor does it mean putting ourselves in situations in which people can continue to mistreat us. Rather, forgiving others means treating with love those who have mistreated us and harboring no resentment or anger toward them. We are commanded to forgive all men. (Guide to the Scriptures, “Forgive,”; D&C 64:9–11.)

How do we harm ourselves and others when we are unwilling to forgive?  Elder C. Max Caldwell and Leaun G. Otten discussed the dangers of withholding forgiveness from others: “When we take the position of withholding forgiveness from our fellow men, we are attempting to block his progress towards salvation. This position is … not Christlike. We are endeavoring to impede the progress of a living soul and deny him the forgiving blessings of the atonement. This philosophy is saturated with impure motives that are designed to destroy the soul” (Sacred Truths of the Doctrine and Covenants, 2 vols. [1993], 1:314; see also D&C 64:9–11).

Elder Kevin R. Duncan taught: “One key to forgiving others is to try to see them as God sees them. At times, God may part the curtain and bless us with the gift to see into the heart, soul, and spirit of another person who has offended us. This insight may even lead to an overwhelming love for that person” (“The Healing Ointment of Forgiveness,” Ensign May 2016, 34)

Part 3: 2 Corinthians 5:14–21 Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can be reconciled to God.

Many people come to church with a desire to feel closer to God, or to reconcile with God.  Paul taught that if there were no Atonement of Jesus Christ, “then were all dead” spiritually. The Atonement changes everyone who accepts it; those who choose to follow Jesus Christ no longer “live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” They become a “new creature”

14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:
15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

 What does it mean to reconcile with God?  Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained Paul’s teaching about reconciliation:  “Reconciliation is the process of ransoming man from his state of sin and spiritual darkness and of restoring him to a state of harmony and unity with Deity. Through it God and man are no longer enemies. Man, who was once carnal and evil, who lived after the manner of the flesh, becomes a new creature of the Holy Ghost; he is born again; and, even as a little child, he is alive in Christ” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1965–73], 2:422–23).

The Joseph Smith Translation of 2 Corinthians 5:16 (in 2 Corinthians 5:16, footnote a). can give us a deeper understanding of what it means to reconcile with God: 16 Wherefore, henceforth live we no more after the flesh; yea, though we once lived after the flesh, yet since we have known Christ, now henceforth live we no more after the flesh.

According to verse 15, what did Jesus Christ do to help us return to Heavenly Father?
15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

What do believers do because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ?  2 Corinthians 5:15–16Believers live Christ-centered lives and do not follow the ways of the world or give in to the flesh. Invite each student to write this statement on the half of the paper that has his or her name on it.

How does the Atonement of Jesus Christ can help us? 2 Corinthians 5:17–19   Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can become new creatures and be reconciled to God. 

What do you think it means to become “a new creature”? 2 Corinthians 5:17  

“The essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ entails a fundamental and permanent change in our very nature made possible through the Savior’s Atonement. True conversion brings a change in one’s beliefs, heart, and life to accept and conform to the will of God (see Acts 3:19; 3 Nephi 9:20) and includes a conscious commitment to become a disciple of Christ.

“… As we honor the ordinances and covenants of salvation and exaltation (see D&C 20:25), ‘press forward with a steadfastness in Christ’ (2 Nephi 31:20), and endure in faith to the end (see D&C 14:7), we become new creatures in Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:17)”
(“Converted unto the Lord,” Elder David Bednar Ensign Nov. 2012, 107).

What did Paul admonished the Saints to do in 2 Corinthians 5:20–21
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

What did Paul teach about Jesus Christ as recorded in verse 21Even though Jesus Christ was without sin, He suffered for our sins so we could be made righteous.

After teaching that all people are accountable for their actions and will one day stand before Jesus Christ to be judged, Paul pleaded with the Corinthian Saints to be reconciled to God through the Atonement of Christ. There are only a few biblical verses that explicitly state that Jesus Christ was completely without sin; 2 Corinthians 5:21 is one of them (also seeHebrews 4:14–15; 7:26; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5). Verse 21 is also one of the clearest scriptural statements on the purpose of the Atonement and the way we are reconciled to God. Paul taught, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). In other words, as a result of His Atonement, Jesus Christ can say to us, “I will take your sins and I will give you my righteousness.” Jesus Christ became a vicarious sacrifice for our sins, meaning that all of our sins were laid upon Him and He bore them, even though He had never sinned. Because of this great sacrifice, upon condition of our repentance, we can share in the Savior’s righteousness. (New Testament Student Manual) 

Part 4:  2 Corinthians 7:8–11  Godly sorrow leads to repentance.

One of Paul’s purposes in writing earlier epistles to the Saints in Corinth was to call certain individuals to repentance. It is evident from 2 Corinthians 7:8–13 that his correspondence had been well received, because according to Paul, the Saints had “sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner”  Paul continued to defend to the Corinthian Saints his conduct as a minister of God. He exhorted the Saints to separate themselves from all unrighteousness. He affirmed his devotion to the Saints and rejoiced that they had experienced godly sorrow and repented of their sins.  2 Corinthians 7:8–11 gives a helpful explanation of godly sorrow and its role in repentance.

8 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.
9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.
10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

In an interview for a temple recommend for marriage, a young woman confesses some past sins to her bishop. After further discussion, the bishop comes to understand that the young woman has not truly repented of her sins and that her sins are serious enough to make her unworthy of a temple recommend. The bishop explains that the young woman will have to wait to receive a recommend until she has fully repented. She is alarmed, claiming she has repented because she hasn’t repeated any of those sins for a long time. The bishop explains that merely stopping the sin is not complete repentance, and he invites her to sincerely begin the process of true repentance.

What do you think the young woman might be feeling at this point in the interview?

The young woman explains to her bishop that she is very upset because the invitations to the wedding and reception have already been sent out. She says she could not face all the questions and the embarrassment of a delay in her wedding plans. She asks whether there is a way for her to be sealed in the temple as planned and then work through the repentance process later.

Based on the young woman’s response to the bishop, what does she seem to be most concerned about?  

What are the two types of sorrow Paul mentioned in the above verses?  For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

President Ezra Taft Benson, who explained the meaning of the term “worldly sorrow”: “It is not uncommon to find men and women in the world who feel remorse for the things they do wrong. Sometimes this is because their actions cause them or loved ones great sorrow and misery. Sometimes their sorrow is caused because they are caught and punished for their actions. Such worldly feelings do not constitute ‘godly sorrow’” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson [2014], 82).

How would you summarize what worldly sorrow is?  President Dieter F. Uchtdorf explained the difference between worldly sorrow and godly sorrow:  “There is an important difference between the sorrow for sin that leads to repentance and the sorrow that leads to despair. “The Apostle Paul taught that ‘godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation … but the sorrow of the world worketh death’ [2 Corinthians 7:10; emphasis added]. Godly sorrow inspires change and hope through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Worldly sorrow pulls us down, extinguishes hope, and persuades us to give in to further temptation.

“Godly sorrow leads to conversion [see Acts 3:19] and a change of heart [see Ezekiel 36:26; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Mosiah 3:19]. It causes us to hate sin and love goodness [see Mosiah 5:2]. It encourages us to stand up and walk in the light of Christ’s love. True repentance is about transformation, not torture or torment. Yes, heartfelt regret and true remorse for disobedience are often painful and very important steps in the sacred process of repentance. But when guilt leads to self-loathing or prevents us from rising up again, it is impeding rather than promoting our repentance(“You Can Do It Now!” Ensign Nov. 2013, 56).
According to verse 10, what can worldly sorrow lead to?  The word death in verse 10 refers to spiritual death, meaning separation from God. Worldly sorrow can lead us to spiritual death, or separation from God.

In what ways can worldly sorrow lead a person to spiritual death? It can prevent a person from truly repenting and receiving Heavenly Father’s forgiveness.

Based on verse 10, what does godly sorrow lead to? Godly sorrow leads us to repent of our sins and receive salvation.

What do we learn about godly sorrow from 2 Corinthians 7:8–11  President Dieter F. Uchtdorf explained:  “Godly sorrow inspires change and hope through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Worldly sorrow pulls us down, extinguishes hope, and persuades us to give in to further temptation.  “Godly sorrow leads to conversion and a change of heart. It causes us to hate sin and love goodness. It encourages us to stand up and walk in the light of Christ’s love. True repentance is about transformation, not torture or torment” (“You Can Do It Now!” Ensign Nov. 2013, 56). 

During the young woman’s interview with the bishop, what indicates that she has not experienced godly sorrow?  Elder Neal A. Maxwell pointed out:  “Pride prefers cheap repentance, paid for with shallow sorrow. Unsurprisingly, seekers after cheap repentance also search for superficial forgiveness instead of real reconciliation. Thus, real repentance goes far beyond simply saying, ‘I’m sorry’” (“Repentance,” Ensign, Nov. 1991, 31).

Why is godly sorrow essential to repentance? President Ezra Taft Benson taught: “Godly sorrow is a gift of the Spirit. It is a deep realization that our actions have offended our Father and our God. It is the sharp and keen awareness that our behavior caused the Savior, He who knew no sin, even the greatest of all, to endure agony and suffering. Our sins caused Him to bleed at every pore. This very real mental and spiritual anguish is what the scriptures refer to as having ‘a broken heart and a contrite spirit.’ (See 3 Ne. 9:20; Moro. 6:2; D&C 20:37; 59:8; Ps. 34:18; 51:17; Isa. 57:15.) Such a spirit is the absolute prerequisite for true repentance” (“A Mighty Change of Heart,” Ensign, Oct. 1989, 4).

Godly sorrow is different from worldly sorrow because it includes the workings of the Spirit in our hearts and causes real and lasting change. Worldly sorrow is a feeling of regret over being caught in a misdeed or having to face unpleasant consequences (see Mormon 2:12–14). Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles pointed out: “Pride prefers cheap repentance, paid for with shallow sorrow. Unsurprisingly, seekers after cheap repentance also search for superficial forgiveness instead of real reconciliation. Thus, real repentance goes far beyond simply saying, ‘I’m sorry’” (“Repentance,” Ensign, Nov. 1991, 31).

 Elder Neil L. Andersen taught:  “When we sin, we turn away from God. When we repent, we turn back toward God.  “The invitation to repent is rarely a voice of chastisement but rather a loving appeal to turn around and to ‘re-turn’ toward God [see Helaman 7:17]. It is the beckoning of a loving Father and His Only Begotten Son to be more than we are, to reach up to a higher way of life, to change, and to feel the happiness of keeping the commandments. Being disciples of Christ, we rejoice in the blessing of repenting and the joy of being forgiven. They become part of us, shaping the way we think and feel. …

“For most, repentance is more a journey than a one-time event. It is not easy. To change is difficult. It requires running into the wind, swimming upstream. Jesus said, ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me’ [Matthew 16:24]. Repentance is turning away from some things, such as dishonesty, pride, anger, and impure thoughts, and turning toward other things, such as kindness, unselfishness, patience, and spirituality. It is ‘re-turning’ toward God” (“Repent … That I May Heal You,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 40–41).

How might you use these teachings to help yourself or someone you know understand how to sincerely repent?

What is repentance? See the following for further study and understanding
Ezekiel 18:30–31
Mosiah 3:19; 5:2
Alma 5:11–21; 42:29–30
3 Nephi 9:13–14, 20–22
Doctrine and Covenants 58:42–43
Bible Dictionary, “Repentance”
“Repentance,” Gospel Topics,
Dale G. Renlund, “Repentance: A Joyful Choice,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2016, 121–24

We need to understand a doctrine or principle before we can apply it, Paul can certainly help us with this task. Though these chapters we learn that chastening comes from love, though we may not see that at the time, but it does. And in the same light we learn the importance of forgiving others, and how to handle offense. We are admonished to see others as God sees them, in doing so how much more peaceful will our lives and the lives of others be. We learn that our trials are actually a blessing that are preparing us and perfecting us to meet with God and as we go through these trials we have learned how to truly be repentant, with Godly sorrow forsaking the world that we may truly be one with God. These doctrines taught by Paul are massive in our journey, they are the ultimate life lessons that will sustain us in our dark times and keep us in the light. Let us all make these teachings a priority to more fully understand; that our lives and hearts may be filled peace and comfort and so that ultimately, when we come before the judgement bar, we will be ready. 

New Testament Student Manual
Conference Reports
Teachings of the Presidents of the Church Ezra Taft Benson
Sacred Truths of the Doctrine and Covenants
Doctrinal New Testament Commentary

The Fall of Adam and Eve

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