The Atonement of Jesus Christ, Part 2

“The Atonement of Jesus Christ, Part 2,” Doctrinal Mastery Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Teacher Material (2017)


Introduction

The teaching materials for the learning experience on “The Atonement of Jesus Christ” are divided into three parts. In part 2, students study this doctrinal topic using the information in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. They will identify a truth about the Savior’s Atonement, and they will learn what is required of us to repent. Students will also study the doctrinal mastery passages found in Doctrine and Covenants 19:16–19 and 58:42–43.

Note: You could teach the segments of this lesson in a single class session or over the course of several class sessions. If you choose to teach the segments over the course of several class sessions, you may need to briefly review with students what they learned in previous segments before you teach a new segment.

Understanding the Doctrine

Segment 1 (5 minutes)

To begin this segment, draw on the board a shirt with a stain on it; label the stain with Stain. You could also bring an article of clothing that has an obvious stain on it. Begin by explaining what stained the clothing, then ask students what they might do to remove the stain.

Following students’ responses, explain that today the class will learn about the only way we can have the stain of sin removed from our lives.

Invite students to search paragraph 3.3 in their copies of the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. Ask them to look for what only Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice can do for us. (Students should identify the following key statement of doctrine: Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice provided the only way for us to be cleansed and forgiven of our sins so that we can dwell in God’s presence eternally. Invite students to consider marking this statement in their copies of the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document.)

Point out that while there may be multiple methods to remove a stain from an article of clothing, only the Savior, by virtue of His atoning sacrifice, can remove the stain of sin from our lives.

  • What must we do to allow the Savior to cleanse and forgive us?

Invite a student to read the following statement by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

“Only through repentance do we gain access to the atoning grace of Jesus Christ and salvation. Repentance is a divine gift. …

“Repentance exists as an option only because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ” (D. Todd Christofferson, “The Divine Gift of Repentance,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 38).

  • What are some ways a person might try to deal with their past sins instead of repenting?

  • Why is it important to understand that the Savior’s atoning sacrifice and our repentance provide the only way for us to be forgiven of our sins?

Segment 2 (10 minutes)

  • Which doctrinal mastery passage from the Doctrine and Covenants is associated with the key statement of doctrine you marked in paragraph 3.3 in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document?

Ask students to turn to Doctrine and Covenants 19:16–19, and invite them to consider marking it in a distinctive way so they will be able to locate it easily in the future. To help them understand the context of this passage, explain that the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 19 was received by the Prophet Joseph Smith for Martin Harris, who was admonished for his reluctance to help finance the printing of the Book of Mormon. As part of this revelation, the Savior explained why repentance is essential.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 19:16–19 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for why it is so important that we choose to repent.

  • From what consequence of sin can we be spared because of the Savior’s sufferings? (The kind of suffering the Savior experienced when He paid the price of our sins.)

  • According to verse 16, what must we do in order to be spared the kind of suffering the Savior experienced?

Testify that Jesus Christ was the only One who could suffer the full consequences of our sins so that we will not have to suffer them if we choose to sincerely repent.

Segment 3 (15 minutes)

Remind students that in order to accept the Savior’s sacrifice we must exercise faith in Him and we must repent (see paragraph 3.5 in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document).

Invite a student to read aloud paragraphs 3.6 and 3.7 in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. Ask the class to follow along, looking for truths about having faith in Jesus Christ that they feel are important to understand.

  • What truths about having faith in Jesus Christ do you feel are important to understand? Why?

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud paragraphs 3.8 through 3.10 in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what we need to do in order to repent.

  • What must we do in order to repent? (Students should identify the following key statement of doctrine: Repentance includes recognizing our sins; feeling remorse, or godly sorrow, for committing sin; confessing our sins to Heavenly Father and, if necessary, to others; forsaking sin; seeking to restore, as far as possible, all that has been damaged as a result of our sins; and living a life of obedience to God’s commandments. Invite students to consider marking this truth in their copies of the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document.)

Divide the class into six groups, and assign each group one of the requirements of repentance (recognizing sin, feeling remorse, confessing, forsaking, seeking to restore all that has been damaged, and living a life of obedience). For small classes, you could assign multiple requirements to each student or group.

Write the following questions on the board (you may want to do this before class):

  • How could a person sincerely fulfill the requirement of repentance that your group was assigned?

  • Why do you think this element of repentance is important?

Ask each group to discuss their answers to the questions on the board and prepare to report their answers to the class. Consider providing each group with a copy of True to the Faith, pages 134–35, which can help them learn more about their assigned topic.

After the groups have had time to discuss their answers to these questions, invite one person from each group to report their responses.

Segment 4 (7 minutes)

Ask students which doctrinal mastery passage is associated with the key statement of doctrine they marked in paragraph 3.9 in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. After students report their answer, invite them to turn to Doctrine and Covenants 58:42–43 and consider marking it in a distinctive way in their scriptures so they will be able to locate it easily in the future.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 58:42–43 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for which elements of repentance are encouraged in this passage. Ask students to report what they find.

Explain that in order to repent, we must confess our sins to the Lord. The Lord requires that some sins be confessed to the bishop or branch president. These men represent the Lord in extending forgiveness for the Church.

Note: If students have questions about what sins should be confessed to their bishop, invite them to speak with their bishop.

Explain that some people mistakenly interpret these verses to suggest that we will no longer remember our sins when we have repented. Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for how his explanation relates to Doctrine and Covenants 58:42.

Elder Neil L. Andersen

“The scriptures do not say that we will forget our forsaken sins in mortality. Rather, they declare that the Lord will forget [see D&C 58:42–43].

“The forsaking of sins implies never returning. Forsaking requires time. To help us, the Lord at times allows the residue of our mistakes to rest in our memory. It is a vital part of our mortal learning.

“As we honestly confess our sins, restore what we can to the offended, and forsake our sins by keeping the commandments, we are in the process of receiving forgiveness. With time, we will feel the anguish of our sorrow subside, taking ‘away the guilt from our hearts’ [Alma 24:10] and bringing ‘peace of conscience’ [Mosiah 4:3] (Neil L. Andersen, “Repent … That I May Heal You,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 42).

  • Why do you think it is important to understand that we may not completely forget our sins?

Invite students to ponder how they have felt the anguish and guilt of sin subside and disappear as they have fully repented. (Do not ask students to share.)

Testify that as we repent of our sins, the Lord will remember them no more. Testify that as we persist in our obedience to the Lord’s commandments and receive His forgiveness, the anguish we have felt for the sins we have committed will be replaced by peace of conscience.

Doctrinal Mastery Review Activities

Note: The following review activities are not intended to be taught during the same class session as this lesson—“The Atonement of Jesus Christ, Part 2.” Please present these activities during seminary class sessions that take place after you have taught this lesson but before you teach “The Atonement of Jesus Christ, Part 3.” These short reviews can be taught at the beginning or end of classes in which you teach a regular sequential scripture lesson from the Doctrine and Covenants. Be sure that these reviews take no longer than five minutes each, so as not to take away from the scripture block students will be studying in class.

Doctrinal Mastery Review. Doctrine and Covenants 19:16–19 (5 minutes)

Invite the first student who comes to class to write the following statement of doctrine on the board before class begins: Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice provided the only way for us to be cleansed and forgiven of our sins so that we can dwell in God’s presence eternally.

Ask students to find the doctrinal mastery passage in the Doctrine and Covenants that helps teach this doctrine. After students have located Doctrine and Covenants 19:16–19, invite them to read the verses aloud together.

  • What do you think are some of the most important teachings in this passage?

  • What are some ideas to help us remember what Doctrine and Covenants 19:16–19 teaches us about the Atonement of Jesus Christ?

Doctrinal Mastery Review. Doctrine and Covenants 58:42–43 (5 minutes)

Write the following statement of doctrine on the board before class: Repentance includes recognizing our sins; feeling remorse, or godly sorrow, for committing sin; confessing our sins to Heavenly Father and, if necessary, to others; forsaking sin; seeking to restore, as far as possible, all that has been damaged as a result of our sins; and living a life of obedience to God’s commandments.

Ask students to find the doctrinal mastery passage in the Doctrine and Covenants that teaches this doctrine. After students have located Doctrine and Covenants 58:42–43, invite them to divide into pairs and read the verses aloud. Ask them which parts of the key statement of doctrine are specifically taught in this passage.

Invite students to suggest some ways that they could remember the contents of this doctrinal mastery passage.

Doctrinal Mastery Review. The Atonement of Jesus Christ (5 minutes)

Write or display the following scripture references and key phrases on the board (or students may use their copies of the Doctrinal Mastery Reference Guide):

D&C 18:10–11. The worth of souls is great.

D&C 19:16–19. The Savior suffered for our sins so we could repent.

D&C 58:42–43. To repent we must confess and forsake sin.

Organize students into pairs. One student from each pair should be able to see the references and key phrases on the board (or in the reference guide) while the other student cannot. Invite the student who can see the board to read each of the key phrases while the other student names the corresponding doctrinal mastery passage reference. Invite the student reading the key phrases to say what the reference is if the partner cannot remember it. Ask students to repeat the key phrases several times, alternating the order in which they are given each time. After sufficient time, have the students change roles and repeat the activity.

Supplemental Teaching Ideas

Jesus Christ’s Atoning Sacrifice Makes Redemption Possible

To help students understand how Doctrine and Covenants 19:16–19 helps teach the truth that “Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice provides the only way for us to be cleansed and forgiven of our sins,” invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for what he said about when unrepentant sinners will suffer for their sins and when their suffering will end.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

“It is with respect to our own sins that the scriptures speak of some not receiving the benefit of redemption. … If a man rejects the Savior’s Atonement, he must redeem his debt to justice himself. … An unredeemed individual’s sufferings for sin is known as hell. It means being subject to the devil and is described in scriptural metaphors as being in chains or a lake of fire and brimstone. … Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, hell has an end, and those who are obliged to pass through it are ‘redeemed from the devil [in] the last resurrection’ (Doctrine and Covenants 76:85)” (D. Todd Christofferson, “Redemption,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2013, 112, note 4).

  • When do unrepentant sinners suffer for their own sins? (After this mortal life, in spirit prison.)

  • When will those suffering for their own sins be redeemed? (During the last resurrection.)

Explain that those who are redeemed in the last resurrection and who have not committed the unpardonable sin will inherit telestial glory (see D&C 76:81–85). Those who exercise faith unto repentance, however, will be “made perfect through Jesus [Christ] … who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood” (D&C 76:69).

Point students back to the key statement of doctrine that “Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice provided the only way for us to be cleansed and forgiven of our sins so that we can dwell in God’s presence eternally.”

Repentance Includes Effort on Our Part

Remind students of the following key statement of doctrine: “Repentance includes recognizing our sins; feeling remorse, or godly sorrow, for committing sin; confessing our sins to Heavenly Father and, if necessary, to others; forsaking sin; seeking to restore, as far as possible, all that has been damaged as a result of our sins; and living a life of obedience to God’s commandments.”

To help students better understand what it means to confess and forsake sins, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for what Elder Christofferson taught about confessing and forsaking sins.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

“Confessing and forsaking are powerful concepts. They are much more than a casual ‘I admit it; I’m sorry.’ Confession is a deep, sometimes agonizing acknowledgment of error and offense to God and man. Sorrow and regret and bitter tears often accompany one’s confession, especially when his or her actions have been the cause of pain to someone or, worse, have led another into sin. …

“With faith in the merciful Redeemer and His power, potential despair turns to hope. One’s very heart and desires change, and the once-appealing sin becomes increasingly abhorrent. A resolve to abandon and forsake the sin and to repair, as fully as one possibly can, the damage he or she has caused now forms in that new heart” (D. Todd Christofferson, “The Divine Gift of Repentance,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 40).

  • What did you learn from Elder Christofferson’s statement about confessing and forsaking sins?

  • What promise does the Lord make in Doctrine and Covenants 58:42–43 to those who confess and forsake their sins?

  • What does this promise mean to you?

Invite students to ponder whether they have sins they need to confess or forsake. Encourage them to do what is necessary in order to fully repent so that they can be forgiven. Testify that as we repent of our sins, the Lord will remember them no more.