When studying the scriptures, we can look for connections.
Before I get into this topic for too long, I’d like to reference a CES talk given by Elder Bednar – A Reservoir of Living Water. He speaks about finding connections in this talk, and I will probably quote him here.
Connections are usually related and mentioned together. They are relatively easy to find in the scriptures. Usually, they are links between ideas, people, things, events, etc. Some examples include:
- Mercy and Grace
- Clean Hands and a Pure Heart
- Broken Heart and Contrite Spirit
- Immortality and Eternal Life
- Liberty and Bondage
- The Father and The Son
- The Wheat and the Tares
- The Sheep and the Goats
It is easy to notice the connections. When noticing the connections, however, it is also useful to ask why they are connected. We can learn more about the gospel from these connections.
Let’s look at the example of the Broken Heart and the Contrite Spirit.
“Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” – Ezekiel 18:31
This scripture teaches us that both our Hearts and our Spirits must become new in order for us to overcome transgression and death.
“And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.” – 3 Nephi 9:20
Christ is speaking to the Nephites in this verse (during His appearance to them after His resurrection). He is teaching them that he has fulfilled the law of Moses, and blood sacrifice is no longer needed. Sacrifice, however, is not to be done away completely. Instead, the people are asked to sacrifice a broken heart and a contrite Spirit. When we do this, we will be baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost.
“And behold, I have given you the law and the commandments of my Father, that ye shall believe in me, and that ye shall repent of your sins, and come unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Behold, ye have the commandments before you, and the law is fulfilled.” – 3 Nephi 12:19
Repentance of sins means that our hearts are broken and our Spirits contrite. In order to keep the commandments of the Father, we should have faith in Him and repent.
“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.” – Moroni 6:2
Once again, we see the connection between having a broken heart and contrite spirit – and how this signifies our willingness to repent.
“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” – Isaiah 57:15
When we do humbly repent – with a broken heart and a contrite Spirit, then the Lord’s Spirit can dwell with us.
So…A Broken Heart and a Contrite Spirit:
- Will enable us (through Christ) to overcome death
- Now that the Mosaic law is fulfilled, having a broken heart and contrite spirit is the sacrifice required of each of us.
- Is a key part of our Repentance
- Is requisite before baptism
- (read between the lines): many of us have been baptized, and will not be baptized again. A broken heart and a contrite Spirit is a necessary part of our renewing our baptismal covenants at sacrament.
- As we do cultivate a broken heart and a contrite Spirit, we create an environment within ourselves where the Holy Ghost can dwell. The Lord cannot fulfill His part of the baptismal covenant unless we provide a place for the Holy Ghost. That place is in each of our hearts and spirits.
Understanding connections can help us better understand fundamental principles of the gospel. As we can see from this example, when we study the connection between a broken heart and a contrite Spirit, we get a better understanding of repentance, faith in Christ, our Baptismal Covenant, and how the Lord will bless us when we give such a sacrifice.
We can find various connections all over the scriptures. Study them! Let them help enrich your understanding of the gospel.