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TANYA - I've been reading Pres. Kimble's book on forgivieness and he implies that we are not forgiven of our sin until we overcome it, if this is so then why do we have the atonement? What if a person is doing their very best to overcome a sin, but still slips up, does that mean all our previous past sin of that kind are heeped upon us again. I don't understand what
he is saying. It seems to me if we are truely trying to overcome sin, and we slip up and can't be forgive until we overcome it, then what's the use in the atonement? for instance a person addicted to caffeine and is trying very hard to overcome, but then has a caffienated beverage, not forgiven?
JOEL - President Kimball was refering to the folowing scripture:
"And now, verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, will not lay any sin to your charge; go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God." (D&C 82: 7)
The Prophet Ezekial said something similar:
"But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned" (Ez. 18:24).
In order to be worthy to enter the Celestial kingdom we must eventually cleanse ourselves of all sin.
"no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven;" (Alma 11:37)
Part of the repentence process and requirement for forgiveness is to completely forsake the sin and never commit it again.
"By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins-behold, he will confess them and forsake them." (D&C 58:43)
Therefore, if we do commit the same sin again, it is as if we never really repented for it in the first place.
To the woman who was accused of adultery Jesus said, "go, and sin no more."(John 8:11)
To a crippled man who Jesus healed He said, "Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee" (John 5:14)
President Kimball explained in his book that the warning in D&C 82 is more for those who feel that they can sin and be forgiven and then return to sin and be forgiven again and again. It doesn't work that way. God knows what is in our hearts and how sincere we are in our struggle to completely forsake sin. The atonement does indeed pay the price for our sins, if
we can eventually and successfully repent for and forsake them. We are in this life to overcome our weaknesses; which for some things may take a lifetime to overcome. We need not consider it such a burden however, if in our hearts we are seriously striving to better ourselves. President Kimball also offered these words of comfort:
"Being a god in embryo and the power to become a god eventually, man need not despair. He should not give up. If he slips he must regain his footing and protect himself from further slipping and return to the sin no more. If in his weakness he fails time and time again, he still should not despair but should make each new effort stronger than the last." (Miracle
Your example of the caffienated beverage doesn't really apply, since partaking of such a thing would not really be considered a sin, although many members do include it in their list of things to avoid. The Word of Wisdom simply states that we should avoid hot drinks which has been interpreted to mean Black tea and coffee. Anything beyond that is up to the individual.
There are more serious sins to consider that we must ever strive to overcome if we are to perfect ourselves and become the kind of person that can dwell in the Celestial Kingdom.
Also, the atonement encompasses much more than just payment for repented sins. It also has the power to help us overcome them and heal the wounds caused by them.
Elder David A. Bednar said:
"The enabling and strengthening aspect of the Atonement helps us to see and to do and to become good in ways that we could never recognize or accomplish with our limited mortal capacity. I testify and witness that the enabling power of the Saviorís Atonement is real. Without that strengthening power of the Atonement, I could not stand before you this morning. (In the Strength of the Lord, Ensign, Nov, 2004)