The Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is the heart and core and center of revealed religion.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie Christ and the Creation

Hope is the anchor of our souls. I know of no one who is not in need of hope—young or old, strong or weak, rich or poor. As the prophet Ether exhorted, “Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.” (Ether 12:4)

. . . .

The unfailing source of our hope is that we are sons and daughters of God and that His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, saved us from death.

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Our greatest hope comes from the knowledge that the Savior broke the bands of death. His victory came through His excruciating pain, suffering, and agony. He atoned for our sins if we repent. In the Garden of Gethsemane came the anguished cry, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:39) Luke described the intensity of the agony: “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground.” (Luke 22:44)

President James E. Faust
Hope, an Anchor of the Soul,” Ensign, Nov 1999, 59

I wish to speak about the greatest event in all history. That singular event was the incomparable Atonement of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. This was the most transcendent act that has ever taken place, yet it is the most difficult to understand. My reason for wanting to learn all I can about the Atonement is partly selfish: Our salvation depends on believing in and accepting the Atonement. (See Mosiah 4:6–7) Such acceptance requires a continual effort to understand it more fully. The Atonement advances our mortal course of learning by making it possible for our natures to become perfect. (See Moroni 10:32) All of us have sinned and need to repent to fully pay our part of the debt. When we sincerely repent, the Savior’s magnificent Atonement pays the rest of that debt. (See 2 Nephi 25:23)

Paul gave a simple explanation for the need of the Atonement: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22) Jesus Christ was appointed and foreordained to be our Redeemer before the world was formed. With His divine sonship, His sinless life, the shedding of His blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, His excruciating death on the cross and subsequent bodily Resurrection from the grave, He became the author of our salvation and made a perfect Atonement for all mankind. (See Bible Dictionary, “Atonement,” 617)

Understanding what we can of the Atonement and the Resurrection of Christ helps us to obtain a knowledge of Him and of His mission. (See Jacob 4:12) Any increase in our understanding of His atoning sacrifice draws us closer to Him. Literally, the Atonement means to be “at one” with Him. The nature of the Atonement and its effects is so infinite, so unfathomable, and so profound that it lies beyond the knowledge and comprehension of mortal man. I am profoundly grateful for the principle of saving grace. Many people think they need only confess that Jesus is the Christ and then they are saved by grace alone. We cannot be saved by grace alone, “for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (2 Ne. 25:23; emphasis added)

President James E. Faust

The Atonement: Our Greatest Hope,” Ensign, Nov 2001, 18

 

I come humbly to this pulpit this morning because I wish to speak about the greatest event in all history. That singular event was the incomparable Atonement of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. This was the most transcendent act that has ever taken place, yet it is the most difficult to understand. My reason for wanting to learn all I can about the Atonement is partly selfish: Our salvation depends on believing in and accepting the Atonement. (See Mosiah 4:6–7) Such acceptance requires a continual effort to understand it more fully. The Atonement advances our mortal course of learning by making it possible for our natures to become perfect. (See Moroni 10:32) All of us have sinned and need to repent to fully pay our part of the debt. When we sincerely repent, the Savior’s magnificent Atonement pays the rest of that debt. (See 2 Nephi 25:23)

Paul gave a simple explanation for the need of the Atonement: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22) Jesus Christ was appointed and foreordained to be our Redeemer before the world was formed. With His divine sonship, His sinless life, the shedding of His blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, His excruciating death on the cross and subsequent bodily Resurrection from the grave, He became the author of our salvation and made a perfect Atonement for all mankind. (See Bible Dictionary, “Atonement,” 617)

Understanding what we can of the Atonement and the Resurrection of Christ helps us to obtain a knowledge of Him and of His mission. (See Jacob 4:12) Any increase in our understanding of His atoning sacrifice draws us closer to Him. Literally, the Atonement means to be “at one” with Him. The nature of the Atonement and its effects is so infinite, so unfathomable, and so profound that it lies beyond the knowledge and comprehension of mortal man. I am profoundly grateful for the principle of saving grace. Many people think they need only confess that Jesus is the Christ and then they are saved by grace alone. We cannot be saved by grace alone, “for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (2 Ne. 25:23; emphasis added)

President James E. Faust

The Atonement: Our Greatest Hope,” Ensign, Nov 2001, 18

There is a distinction between immortality, or eternal existence, and eternal life, which is to have a place in the presence of God. Through the grace of Jesus Christ, immortality comes to all men, just or unjust, righteous or wicked. However, eternal life is “the greatest of all the gifts of God.” (D&C 14:7.) We obtain this great gift, according to the Lord, “if you keep my commandments and endure to the end.” If we so endure, the promise is, “you shall have eternal life.” (D&C 14:7.)

President Joseph Fielding Smith explains, “This distinction between eternal life, as received by the faithful, and immortality, obtained by both the faithful and unfaithful, is shown in the words of the Lord to Moses: ‘For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.’ The conjunction clearly separates the two thoughts. It explains that the Lord is giving to the vast majority of men, those who will not be obedient, the blessing of immortality; and to those who will serve him, the blessing of eternal life.” (The Way to Perfection, Salt Lake City: The Genealogical Society of Utah, 1946, p. 329.)

Elder James E. Faust

The Supernal Gift of the Atonement,” Ensign, Nov 1988, 12

September 27, 2013

Christmas, Faust, General Authorities

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As one of the special witnesses of Jesus and of the gospel restored to earth by God working through the Prophet Joseph Smith, I testify that the greatest gift of this or any other Christmas is the Atonement of Jesus as the Redeemer, the Son of God. Paul said this was a “free gift” (Rom. 5:15). It is a gift we cannot handle or touch, but we can feel the immeasurable love of the Giver.

Through this gift we can all find the pathway to eternal life. My testimony of this is sure, real, and absolute, as is my sacred testimony of Him. I invoke the blessings of God upon us all at this special Christmastime.

President James E. Faust

A Christmas with No Presents,” Ensign, Dec 2001, 2–6

June 23, 2013

Faust, General Authorities, Hope

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Understanding what we can of the Atonement and the Resurrection of Christ helps us to obtain a knowledge of Him and of His mission. 6 Any increase in our understanding of His atoning sacrifice draws us closer to Him. Literally, the Atonement means to be “at one” with Him. The nature of the Atonement and its effects is so infinite, so unfathomable, and so profound that it lies beyond the knowledge and comprehension of mortal man. I am profoundly grateful for the principle of saving grace. Many people think they need only confess that Jesus is the Christ and then they are saved by grace alone. We cannot be saved by grace alone, “for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” 7 . . . .

The Atonement and the Resurrection accomplish many things. The Atonement cleanses us of sin on condition of our repentance. Repentance is the condition on which mercy is extended. 25 After all we can do to pay to the uttermost farthing and make right our wrongs, the Savior’s grace is activated in our lives through the Atonement, which purifies us and can perfect us. 26 Christ’s Resurrection overcame death and gave us the assurance of life after death. Said He: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” 27 The Resurrection is unconditional and applies to all who have ever lived and ever will live. 28 It is a free gift. President John Taylor described this well when he said: “The tombs will be opened and the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and they shall come forth, they who have done good to the resurrection of the just, and they who have done evil to the resurrection of the unjust.” 29 . . . .

The Atonement not only benefits the sinner but also benefits those sinned against—that is, the victims. By forgiving “those who trespass against us” (JST, Matt. 6:13) the Atonement brings a measure of peace and comfort to those who have been innocently victimized by the sins of others. The basic source for the healing of the soul is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. This is true whether it be from the pain of a personal tragedy or a terrible national calamity . . . .

James E. Faust, “The Atonement: Our Greatest Hope,” Ensign, Nov 2001, 18

May 3, 2013

Bateman, Charity, Faust, General Authorities

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A few years ago, when Elder Merrill J. Bateman of the Presidency of the Seventy was in Japan, the missionaries introduced him to a young Japanese brother who had just joined the Church. He was from a non-Christian background. When he met the missionaries, he was interested in the message, but he could not understand or feel the need for a Savior, and he didn’t have a witness regarding the gospel. One day the missionaries decided to show him a film about the Atonement. The young man saw the film, but still he didn’t have a witness.

“The next morning he went to work. He worked in an optician’s shop making eyeglasses. … An elderly woman came in. He remembered her coming in a few weeks before. She had broken her glasses. She needed a new pair. When she had come in earlier, she didn’t have enough money and had gone away to save more in order to purchase the new glasses. As she came in that day, she again showed him her spectacles and showed him the money that she now had. He realized that she didn’t have enough yet. Then a thought came to him: I have some money. I don’t need to tell her. I can make up the difference. So he told her the money she had was adequate, took her glasses, [and] made an appointment for her to return when he had finished making the spectacles. …

“She returned later. He had the glasses ready for her. He handed them to her, and she put them on [and exclaimed] ‘… I see. I see.’ Then she began to cry. At that point, a burning sensation began to grow within his bosom and swelled within him. He said, ‘… I understand. I understand.’ He began to cry. Out the door he ran, looking for the missionaries. When he found them, he said, ‘I see! My eyes have been opened! I know that Jesus is the Son of God. I know the stone was rolled away from the tomb and on that glorious Easter morning He arose from the dead. He can make up the difference in my life when I fall short.’ ”2

We can all see by the candle of inspiration, which is the Spirit of the Holy Ghost. It will light our way out of darkness and difficulty. The most sure way to come out of darkness and into the light is through communication with our Heavenly Father by the process known as divine revelation. President Wilford Woodruff (1807–98) declared, “Whenever the Lord had a people on the earth that He acknowledged as such, that people were led by revelation.”3 The inspiration of God is available to all who worthily seek the divine guidance of the Holy Spirit. This is particularly true of those who have received the gift of the Holy Ghost.

President James E. Faust

Put Light in Your Life,” New Era, Jun 2007, 3–7

From a Church Educational System fireside talk given on September 8, 2002.