June 09, 2009

Does Christ Suffer for Each Sin individually?

When we sin does Christ suffer more than if we had not sinned? That is, does Christ suffer for each person's sins separately, or does he just suffer for sin? Has any General Authority answered this question? What do the Scriptures say?

Firstly the Law of Moses clearly answers this question. Each Israelite was commanded to come to the temple once a year and place their sins upon the head of the sacrifice. Each subsequent year the sins for that year were placed upon the ram. This sacrifice was done outside the temple but still within the camp (Jerusalem).

Additionally to this there was one sacrifice made outside the city. One sacrifice for ALL Israel.

The first of these 2 sacrifices represents the suffering in the garden. The second one represents the crucifixion outside Jerusalem on the hill.

If we look at the first sacrifice we see that a sacrifice was required for EACH person. Thus Christ had to suffer separately for each of us. Secondly we see that additional sacrifice was required each and every year for additional sins done that year. This demonstrates that Christ suffers separately for every sin we make.

In the D&C Christ stated that without repentance suffering is required.

"And surely every man must repent or suffer..." D&C 19:4

In verse 17 he goes on further to say,

"But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I."

So Christ is stating that we would be suffering that same type of suffering he did if we don't accept him suffering on our behalf.

In examining this question we must ask why suffering is required? This is also answered in the Scriptures.

Of those who have known the truth and rejected it Mosiah 2:37-38 says,
"...therefore he listeth to obey the evil spirit, and becometh an enemy to all righteousness; therefore, the Lord has no place in him, for he dwelleth not in unholy temples. Therefore if that man repenteth not, and remaineth and dieth an enemy to God, the demands of divine justice do awaken his immortal soul to a lively sense of his own guilt, which doth cause him to shrink from the presence of the Lord, and doth fill his breast with guilt, and pain, and anguish, which is like an unquenchable fire, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever."

So, due to our conscience, suffering becomes necessary. We need to appease our conscience by an equal suffering for what we have caused ("divine justice").

We may well say, "well, I don't want to have Christ suffer on my behalf, I'll do it myself." The problem with that is the sanctification that is required. The above verse also points out that sin ruins our relationship with God, as he can't dwell in us. This means we can't progress. Without a cleansing of our sins the Holy Spirit can't be our constant companion to sanctify us (make us pure and perfect in thought and feeling).

The Scriptures additionally demonstrate that each person must suffer different amounts according to how well we understood.

"And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more." Luke 12:47-48

Thus for Christ to be an equivalent sacrifice he must suffer according to our knowledge also.

Christ suffered in the garden for the sins performed before he lived and long after he lived, by the eternity factor. Time is an illusion. God dwells in eternity where all is present. Christ took his mind to this and then Abraham (for example) could have his sins forgiven and be cleansed then sanctified while he lived. Christ thus, from a time perspective, suffered for our sins before the sins even occurred. So he doesn't need to keep going back.

As to whether a GA has made some comment, I couldn't find one.


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