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Drew's Reviews #7 - "Believing Christ"

I just finished reading “Believing Christ” by Stephen E. Robinson.

Quick Take: Great read. Enhanced my understanding of the Atonement and how to apply it to my life.

Longer Take:

I think I read this book for the first time in mid 90’s and I honestly don’t remember loving it. But this time around, I could hardly put it down.

The book is based on the premise that many of us “believe in Christ” but do not “believe Christ.” We believe that Christ exists, that he’s the Son of God, and that he has and will do lots of good things. But, we do not believe that we are worthy to be saved by Christ. We do not have faith that he can actually save us. We feel we have to save ourselves.

Robinson then uses the scriptures, the words of the prophets, and what he calls the “Parable of the Bicycle” to explain how Christ is the only way we can be saved. I’ll try to summarize the main points:

1. God cannot let us return to him if we sin in any way (D&C 1:31)

2. Due to being mortal, there is ZERO chance we do not make mistakes.

3. Based on #1 and #2 above we’re lost. God, knowing this, introduced the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

4. When we accept the Atonement, we become partners with Jesus Christ in the gospel covenant. We exchange the burden of sin for the obligation to love him, follow him, and do the best we can. He provides the perfection.

5. As long as we keep this gospel covenant (i.e. Do the best we can), Jesus Christ and I stand before God as one person. God can welcome us back as “perfect in Christ.” (Moroni 10:32)

Reading this was a refreshing reminder that I don’t need to save myself. I don’t need to worry about being perfect. I don’t need to destroy myself every time I fall short. I just need to work hard and Jesus Christ will take care of the rest. But the key is, I really need to believe this is so.

Some of My Favourite Quotes:

“…believing in Jesus' identity as the Christ is only the first half of it. The other half is believing in his ability, in his power to cleanse and to save … Not only must we believe that he is who he says he is, we must also believe that he can do what he says he can do.”

“…if you don’t know the trick, the shortcut to perfection, you can burn yourself out trying to become perfect on your own. The great secret is this: Jesus Christ will share his perfection, his sinlessness, his righteousness, his merits with us. … we are considered perfect, accepted as perfect, by becoming one with a perfect Christ.”

“Taken together as a single entity, the two of us, Christ and I, are perfect. I do not mean (this is absolutely crucial!) that we can become perfect later on. I mean that from the moment the partnership is formed in good faith, from the moment we have sincere faith in Christ, sincerely repent of our sins, and receive baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost—from this moment the partnership is celestial. The merits of the Senior Partner make it so. True, this is not individual perfection, which will indeed come later (much later), rather it is perfection-in-Christ…”

“Too many of us are saying to ourselves, "When I've done it, when I've perfected myself, when I've made myself completely righteous, then I'll be worthy of the Atonement. Then Christ can do his work and exalt me." But this will never happen, for it puts the cart before the horse. It's like saying, "When my tumor is gone, then I'll call the doctor.””

“The percentages vary both from person to person and, even for the same person, over a period of time. In my case, my efforts might take me twenty percent of the way to perfection. The Savior covers the other eighty percent. In your case, your efforts might take you fifty percent—or two percent—of the way. The Savior still covers the difference. But in every case the sum of the joint effort is the same—anyone's best efforts, however great or small, plus the atonement of Christ will equal 100 percent of what is needed to enter God's kingdom.”

“…my only hope of perfection is the perfection-in-Christ that he shares with those in the gospel covenant, for that very perfection-in-Christ and nothing else is what will allow me into the celestial kingdom at the day of judgment.”


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