What does “applying the atoning blood of Christ” mean?
I want to imagine for a moment, that setting fire to anything is a sin. It plainly isn’t, but for the purpose of my answer, let’s assume that it is. Let’s further assume that the only way to obtain forgiveness for setting fire to something would require restoring it to its original condition.
Now imagine that I start a campfire. I’m now guilty of sin. How can I obtain forgiveness? Can I possibly restore the burned wood to its original state? Clearly not.
My point is this, Janet. Every sin we commit causes consequences that we cannot possibly overcome. The one common consequence is that we acted in a sinful way. We do not have the ability to undo, or reverse our actions. All we are left with is to either accept the consequences and deal with them, or attempt to ignore them. Because if we cannot overcome sin or choose not to, we cannot enter God’s presence. In order for us to overcome sin, we need help.
The good news is that help was provided for from the beginning. Jesus Christ volunteered to be the necessary atoning sacrifice that would allow us to be forgiven of our sins. It is because He suffered the consequences of all sin that He is able to help us overcome ours.
Thus, applying the atoning blood of Christ refers to anyone who humbly and sincerely seeks forgiveness of their sins by obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It means we offer our broken hearts and contrite spirits to Him. A broken heart because of our sorrow for acting sinfully, and a contrite spirit because of our willingness to repent and return to obeying Christ’s commandments.
The most common way we can do this is through partaking of the Sacrament on Sunday. Everyone has something to repent of on a regular basis. The Sacrament is provided to us as a way to take advantage of the Atonement as part of the repentance process. This could be seen as ‘applying the atoning blood of Christ’. For more serious sins, such as domestic abuse, or law of chastity matters, the step of going to the Bishop for help and guidance through the repentance process is included.
What I am most grateful for is that we have the ability to take advantage of the Atonement of Christ and obtain forgiveness. Without it, we would be forever barred from returning to Heavenly Father. With it we can overcome our sins and be found worthy to return to Him who gave us the chance to become all that we can be, for all eternity.