…VAN EEN VERNUFTIGE MAKELIJ…
(1 Nephi 18:1)
THE LAW OF SACRIFICE – Part 3, The Sacrament
Offering the firstlings of the flocks as a similitude of the sacrifice that would be made by the Only Begotten Son of God was offered until the death of Jesus Christ which ended the shedding of blood as a gospel ordinance. It is now replaced in the Church by bringing an offering of a broken heart and contrite spirit to the sacrament of the bread and the water, in remembrance of the offering of Jesus Christ. Moroni taught about the covenant that we make at baptism:
1 And now I speak concerning baptism. Behold, elders, priests, and teachers were baptized; and they were not baptized save they brought forth fruit meet that they were worthy of it.
2 Neither did they receive any unto baptism save they came forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnessed unto the church that they truly repented of all their sins.
3 And none were received unto baptism save they took upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end. (Moroni 6:1-3)
The Lord through Joseph Smith reiterated the importance of a broken heart and contrite spirit as part of the baptismal covenant:
37 And again, by way of commandment to the church concerning the manner of baptism—All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church. (DC 20:37)
The first principles and ordinances of the gospel are: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. The ordinances of baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost occur only once in our life. However, we must repeatedly increase our faith in Jesus Christ and the atonement and we must repeatedly repent because, in our earthly experience, faith is perishable and we will make mistakes and continually be in need of improvement. Also, in lieu of re-baptism and confirmation, Jesus Christ instituted the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper as a sacred ordinance to repeatedly renew our baptismal covenant.
“…give (the sacrament) unto the people of my church, unto all those who shall believe and be baptized in my name.
6 And this shall ye always observe to do, even as I have done…” (3 Nephi 18:5-6)
This then becomes a life’s pattern. We call that in the church, “enduring to the end." In short, the law of animal blood sacrifice was changed to a personal sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Each time we partake of the sacrament, we must bring a broken heart and contrite spirit or we are bringing the wrong offering. If we bring the wrong offering, are we much different than Cain who brought vegetables to sacrifice? Are you offering up a turnip during the sacrament.
A broken heart is sorrow for sin. A contrite spirit is humble remorse and willingness to change behavior. The sacrament prayer itself tells us what else we should be thinking about when we eat and drink the sacrament in return for his Spirit always to be with us (DC 20:77):
- Remembrance of the body and the blood of thy Son,
- Willing to take upon them the name of thy Son,
- Always remember Him,
- Keep His commandments.
It is interesting to see we are to remember the sacrifice, the broken body and spilt blood, as well as remember His life and His example.
The sacrament is an ordinance that blesses our lives. When we are thinking of the roast beef at home, the problems of the week, our lesson, etc. during the sacrament, we might be bringing a turnip to the altar. Think about it.