In my last post, I mentioned my frustration over certain song lyrics and how they influence how we view Jesus and His perfection. I realized there is more I want to add to that post, so here it is:
I use the song lyrics simply to illustrate the tendency for people to deny, in practical terms, His humanity - His mortal half. I also use them to highlight the way that "perfection" is interpreted now as opposed to in the scriptures themselves.
Just to consider: There is a difference between "sin" and "transgression". One is a willful choice; one is a mistake made in ignorance or without real choice. The latter "transgression" is MUCH broader than most people realize.
As an example of something pretty serious but done in ignorance, think of a child born in a home where terrorism is taught as a way of life. Great rewards are promised for suicide death in the name of God. If that young boy grows up and carries out a suicide bombing that kills people, is his action a "sin" or a "transgression"? How can we really know for sure - seeing only the result and not what caused it? If he were mentally disabled, we would understand and allow for an exception. How can we be sure exactly what constitutes "mental disability" in God's eyes?
Another example - a very emotional one: We are commanded to abstain from sex with anyone who is not our spouse. In the case of rape, there is a sin (the one who rapes) AND there is a transgression (the breaking of the law by what is done to he one who is raped). The victim does not sin, even though the commandment truly is broken - since sex outside of marriage has occurred. The Atonement covers that "technical violation", since it was not done intentionally or willfully. Therefore, the victim remains "clean" in the eyes of God.
Now, turn to the example of Jesus. We know he was subject to the Fall because of his mother's fallen status. This means that He inherited from her the ability to "sin", but it also means He inherited from her the same type of weaknesses and inclinations and tendencies to "transgress" as we do from our mortal parents. ***This means that he had to go through the process of overcoming His "natural man" exactly like we do, while never "sinning".***
Have you ever considered that Jesus was acting in His role as Redeemer not just for everyone else, but also for Himself? Lest I be called a heretic, remember, I also believe He never "sinned" - acted in opposition to what He understood and knew. I'm just saying that we are not held accountable for our transgressions; the Atonement paid for them. Therefore, I believe, the Atonement also paid for His transgressions, as well - those "innocent" mistakes He made as a child and as He was learning and growing from grace to grace. He probably was a more naturally obedient child than most, but I think it's instructive that, like other prophets, He was not accepted "in His own country" - by those who watched Him grow up as just a normal child in their eyes.
When He condescended to come to earth, He agreed to do so in a way that put Him in subjection to the Fall - so He could experience EVERY aspect of mortality that we do. I believe that in doing so there had to be a way provided for *all* of us to be freed from the effects of the Fall - including He who condescended to become as one of us - in every way other than succumbing to actual sin.
In the end, I return to how "perfection" was applied under the Law of Moses (and in Lucifer's plan) - never making a mistake and following everything with exactness, generally at threat of punishment. I then look at Matthew 5:48 and see that Jesus defined it as "complete, finished, fully developed" - covering lots of mistakes by allowing for repentance and focusing on spiritual growth toward an eventual completion of character. If we understand this difference, I believe it can change and empower the way we look at Jesus - and our children and our friends and our fellow saints and our leaders - AND OURSELVES, making us much more able to "have joy" in this life and in the life to come.
***We need to quit using "perfect" the way the world uses it and start using it the way that our Savior and Redeemer did.***
Sister Missionary: 8 August – 15 August 1947
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