Till We Meet Again… At Jesus’ Feet!

I met Linda at church about thirteen years ago. Her deep love for God showed in both her words and her actions. The Holy Spirit gave Linda some amazing spiritual gifts and through these gifts she glorified her Lord with many works of love. I was drawn to Linda not only as my mentor, but also as my dear sister in Christ. Over the years she was there for me during times of trial as well as times of joy. Last May when she called to tell me she had terminal cancer, I knew I was going to miss her terribly. But both of us knew our parting would only be for a short time.

Throughout Linda’s illness her husband Rennie took wonderful care of her, showing his great faith and courage. Linda found out she had cancer the first week in May. From that time until she died, Rennie sent a weekly email giving a daily synopsis of Linda’s week. I’m so thankful that he kept all of us who loved her up to date with what she was going through.

Linda left this earth to be with the Lord on August 19th. As much as I miss her already, I can’t even begin to fathom how Rennie feels. Rennie and Linda were not only husband and wife, they were also best friends. They were married “till death do us part” (Matthew 22:27-30) but through faith in Christ, they will be together for eternity. I remember how surprised I was to discover that Christians believe they will spend eternity with loved ones who also have faith in Christ.

Three days before Linda died Rennie knew his time with her on this earth was coming to an end. In his weekly email update he included this little poem he had written, describing the emotions he was going through:

At times it is as if a heavy stone were sitting upon my chest.
At times I am as liberated as an eagle in flight.
I move from the darkest depths of an abyss to standing on a mountain top in the span of a heartbeat.
I am at once surrounded with warmth and love and alone in the universe.
We stand together at the threshold of forever knowing only one may cross it, for now.
For one, time will stop and it will be as an instant when the other joins.
There is only time, and there is time only for us.
Only the Lord knows when, and it will be the time that is best.

I could barely read his words to my husband Keith because I was crying so hard. Both of us were teary-eyed for quite a while, knowing how hard life would be for Rennie without Linda at his side. But we are also thankful that he has placed his trust in God’s will. We pray that he will find comfort in God’s amazing love and promises.

At church a few Sundays ago, we sang “God Be With You Till We Meet Again”. I had always thought this was a Mormon hymn, but years ago when we first sang it at my church, I did some research on it. I learned that it was written as a Christian good-bye in the 1880’s and was first sung in a First Congregational Church in Washington.

I love these words from the song, because I can’t wait:

Till we meet, till we meet,
Till we meet at Jesus’ feet.

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Through Christ’s Atonement You Have Been Reconciled To God!

The LDS Bible Dictionary gives the definition of Atonement as: “…the setting ‘at one’ of those who have been estranged, and denotes the reconciliation of man to God. Sin is the cause of the estrangement, and therefore the purpose of atonement is to correct or overcome the consequences of sin. From the time of Adam to the death of Jesus Christ, true believers were instructed to offer animal sacrifices to the Lord. These sacrifices were symbolic of the forthcoming death of Jesus Christ, and were done by faith in him.

Even though this definition claims that the Atonement “denotes the reconciliation of man to God” it goes on to explain that Christ’s Atonement doesn’t apply to each person’s individual sins:All are covered unconditionally as pertaining to the fall of Adam. …The atonement is conditional, however, so far as each person’s individual sins are concerned, and touches every one to the degree that he has faith in Jesus Christ, repents of his sins, and obeys the gospel.

But, if the Atonement does not cover every single sin you have ever committed, then you are not reconciled to God! Your sins remain and you cannot come into God’s presence! Growing up LDS I was very familiar with the word “Atonement”. I understood the differences between the unconditional and conditional “gifts” of Christ’s Atonement. I believed that Christ’s Atonement gave me the opportunity to overcome the consequences of my many sins. I knew I was unclean and could never enter God’s presence until I washed myself clean through my own works; doing the process of repentance. I desperately clung to the hope that one day I could gain forgiveness.

Years after I left the Church I was surprised to find that the word Atonement wasn’t commonly used by Christians. This got my curiosity up so I started asking questions and searching the Bible for answers. What I found surprised me. The word Atonement appears to have come about in the sixteenth century during the translation of the Bible into the English King James Version. It was created because of the lack of an English word which could explain the Hebrew term which fully encompassed what Christ’s sacrifice accomplished: 1) through the sacrifice of Christ’s body, an atonement (appeasement) was made for all sins, which 2) caused God to forgive all sins, and 3) accomplished the reconciliation of man to God. In essence, “atonement” defines the work that Jesus did when He took care of the problem posed by the sin of man.

The most important truth I learned about the Atonement is what thrilled me!! I discovered that Christ’s Atonement is an accomplished fact! Christ atoned for our sins (paid the penalty due us) over two millennia ago. Through it, we have been given so much more than bodily resurrection and the opportunity to prove our worthiness. Christ’s blood covered over all of our sins and we are forgiven! Because of that accomplished fact—we have been reconciled to God. We can now boldly enter into His presence because through Christ’s sacrifice, He has made us holy and perfect! We read many times in the New Testament that Jesus’ followers knew their sins were forgiven and that they had been reconciled to God. They understood that to qualify for this gift one merely had to be a sinner and thereby be in need of it. They knew that Christ’s blood covered ALL sins, not just Adam’s!

The Apostle Paul testified to the Romans: “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (5:10). To the Corinthians he declared: “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5). In these words we see the fact that reconciliation was an accomplished fact through Christ’s Atonement!

The LDS teaching that the atonement is conditional “so far as each person’s individual sins are concerned” is a false teaching! But, thank God that His faithful Prophets and Apostles have faithfully proclaimed His truth! Their testimony can be found on the pages of the Bible! They proclaim that Christ’s Atonement covered over all of your sins! Your sins have been forgiven and you have been reconciled to God. Through faith in Christ’s Atonement, you will have eternal life! All of these gifts are accomplished facts granted through Christ’s Atonement! Please don’t reject these amazing gifts from your Savior. I implore you “be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Link to LDS Bible Dictionary: