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

The larger theological perspective needed to accommodate both grace and works is provided by the scriptures themselves in the concept of “covenant,” an agreement entered into voluntarily by two parties, with obligations laid upon both. This concept is taught in both the Old and New Testaments as characterizing the proper relationship between God and his people.

The availability of the covenant, the Savior who mediates it, his agony that empowered it-these are all free gifts of grace: God didn’t have to offer; Jesus didn’t have to suffer. They are gifts bestowed upon us out of love. But the decision to remain in the covenant, to stay put and “endure to the end”-that choice is ours, and it is indicated by whom we serve and by the works we do. As long as we choose to remain loyal to him, Christ continues to justify us by his grace and to atone for our mistakes. Our present good works (such as we can manage) are a token of the perfect righteousness we genuinely seek to offer but at this point can achieve only through Christ, a token that we still serve him and not the Enemy. This token-our sincere effort-is accepted by Christ, who alone redeems and justifies us through the covenant.

Ultimately, salvation is the task of him who bears the title-Savior. It is his title because it is his function and not ours. Occasionally, he allows us to work for him as tools in saving others, but never for ourselves. We can’t baptize ourselves, bless ourselves, ordain ourselves, or endow ourselves. Still, we can and must do something to enter into and remain in the covenant. We cannot logically insist he is our master while at the same time refusing to serve him. We can’t have it both ways. Servants, by definition, serve. If entering into the covenant is a choice for Christ rather than Satan, then staying in the covenant is serving Christ-that is, to continue choosing Christ, to endure or persist in choosing Christ-and that choice is expressed in our behavior. We can’t come to Christ and then just wander off to do our own thing.

Stephen E. Robinson
The Parable of the Divers and More Good News
Deseret Book Company, 1995

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August 1, 2017

Christofferson, Fundamental Principles, General Authorities, Justification, Sanctification

Comments Off on One Who is Justified is Pardoned, Without Sin, or Guiltless

Because of “the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice,” Jesus Christ can satisfy or “answer the ends of the law” on our behalf. Pardon comes by the grace of Him who has satisfied the demands of justice by His own suffering, “the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).  He removes our condemnation without removing the law. We are pardoned and placed in a condition of righteousness with Him. We become, like Him, without sin. We are sustained and protected by the law, by justice. We are, in a word, justified.

Thus, we may appropriately speak of one who is justified as pardoned, without sin, or guiltless. For example, “Whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world” (3 Nephi 27:16).”

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

Justification and Sanctification,” Ensign, June 2001, 1

 

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June 21, 2017

Justification, New Testament, Paul

Comments Off on He Had by Himself Purged Our Sins

1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Hebrews 1:1-3

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June 11, 2017

Faith, Grace, Justification, Paul, Sin

Comments Off on Grace – Part 4 – All Have Sinned

23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Romans 3:23-28

Note that when Paul speaks of the law in verse 28, he is referring to the Law of Moses and the term, “without” in the original Greek is “apart from” or “without intervention of”.

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May 31, 2017

General Authorities, General Conference, Justice, Justification, Repentance, Rescue, Scott

Comments Off on The Opportunity to Overcome the Consequences of Mistakes

Without the Atonement, Father in Heaven’s plan of happiness could not have been placed fully into effect. The Atonement gives all the opportunity to overcome the consequences of mistakes made in life. When we obey a law, we receive a blessing. When we break a law, there is nothing left over from prior obedience to satisfy the demands of justice for that broken law. The Savior’s Atonement permits us to repent of any disobedience and thereby avoid the penalties that justice would have imposed.

My reverence and gratitude for the Atonement of the Holy One of Israel, the Prince of Peace and our Redeemer, continually expand as I strive to understand more about it. I realize that no mortal mind can adequately conceive, nor can human tongue appropriately express, the full significance of all that Jesus Christ has done for our Heavenly Father’s children through His Atonement. Yet it is vital that we each learn what we can about it. The Atonement is that essential ingredient of our Father in Heaven’s plan of happiness without which that plan could not have been activated. Your understanding of the Atonement and the insight it provides for your life will greatly enhance your productive use of all of the knowledge, experience, and skills you acquire in mortal life.

I believe that it is instructive to try to imagine what the Atonement required of both the Father and His willing Son. Three of the challenges the Savior faced were:

First, an enormous sense of responsibility, for He realized that except it be done perfectly, not one of His Father’s children could return to Him. They would be forever banished from His presence since there would be no way to repent for broken laws and no unclean thing can exist in the presence of God. His Father’s plan would have failed, and each spirit child would have been under the eternal control and torment of Satan.

Second, in His absolutely pure mind and heart, He had to personally feel the consequences of all that mankind would ever encounter, even the most depraved, despicable sins.

Third, He had to endure the vicious attack of Satan’s hordes while physically and emotionally pressed to the limit. Then, for reasons we do not fully know, while at the extremity of His capacity, at the time the Savior most needed succor, His Father allowed Him to shoulder the onerous responsibility with only His own strength and capacity.

Elder Richard G. Scott
He Lives! All Glory to His Name!,” Ensign, May 2010, 75–78

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September 12, 2016

Enoch, Justification, Sanctification

Comments Off on By the Spirit Ye are Justified, and by the Blood Ye are Sanctified

WE may not often think of the Prophet Enoch, the seventh in a chain of patriarchs going back to Adam,  as a teacher of the Atonement, but he does a masterful job.

And he said unto them: Because that Adam fell, we are; and by his fall came death; and we are made partakers of misery and woe.

Behold Satan hath come among the children of men, and tempteth them to worship him; and men have become carnal, sensual, and devilish, and are shut out from the presence of God.

But God hath made known unto our fathers that all men must repent.

And he called upon our father Adam by his own voice, saying: I am God; I made the world, and men before they were in the flesh.

And he also said unto him: If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men, ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, asking all things in his name, and whatsoever ye shall ask, it shall be given you.

And our father Adam spake unto the Lord, and said: Why is it that men must repent and be baptized in water? And the Lord said unto Adam: Behold I have forgiven thee thy transgression in the Garden of Eden.

Hence came the saying abroad among the people, that the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world.

And the Lord spake unto Adam, saying: Inasmuch as thy children are conceived in sin, even so when they begin to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good.

And it is given unto them to know good from evil; wherefore they are agents unto themselves, and I have given unto you another law and commandment.

Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time.

Therefore I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your children, saying:

That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;

For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified;

Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment.

And now, behold, I say unto you: This is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time.

Moses 6:48-62

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July 20, 2016

General Authorities, Holy Ghost, Justification, McConkie

Comments Off on Justified by the Spirit

What then is the law of justification? It is simply this: “All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations” (D. & C. 132:7), in which men must abide to be saved and exalted, must be entered into and performed in righteousness so that the Holy Spirit can justify the candidate for salvation in what has been done. (1 Ne. 16:2; Jac. 2:13-14; Alma 41:15; D. & C. 98; 132:1, 62.) An act that is justified by the Spirit is one that is sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, or in other words, ratified and approved by the Holy Ghost. This law of justification is the provision the Lord has placed in the gospel to assure that no unrighteous performance will be binding on earth and in heaven, and that no person will add to his position or glory in the hereafter by gaining an unearned blessing.

As with all other doctrines of salvation, justification is available because of the atoning sacrifice of Christ, but it becomes operative in the life of an individual only on conditions of personal righteousness. As Paul taught, men are not justified by the works of the Mosaic law alone any more than men are saved by those works alone. The grace of God, manifest through the infinite and eternal atonement wrought by his Son, makes justification a living reality for those who seek righteousness. (Isa. 53:11; Mosiah 14:11.)

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

“Justification,” Mormon Doctrine (Bookcraft, 1966)

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May 10, 2016

Christofferson, Fundamental Principles, Justification, Sanctification

Comments Off on Christofferson – Justification and Sanctification – Continued

To be sanctified through the blood of Christ is to become clean, pure, and holy. If justification removes the punishment for past sin, then sanctification removes the stain or effects of sin.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

Justification and Sanctification,” Ensign, Jun 2001, 18

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May 3, 2016

Justification, Sanctification, The Pearl of Great Price

Comments Off on Justification and Sanctification

For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified.

Moses 6:60

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February 28, 2016

General Authorities, General Conference, Justification, Oaks

Comments Off on The Light and Life of the World

We come to the Father through the life-giving mission of the Son in two ways. In each of these ways, Jesus Christ is the life of the world, our Savior and our Redeemer.

Through the power and example of the infinite atonement of Jesus Christ, all mankind will be resurrected (see 2 Ne. 9:7, 12). Our mortal life came into being because of his creative act. Our immortal life has now been assured because the Resurrected Lord has redeemed us from death. According to the plan of the Father, the Son was “the firstborn from the dead” (Col. 1:18). “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22).

Jesus Christ is also the life of the world because he has atoned for the sins of the world. By yielding to temptation, Adam and Eve were “cut off from the presence of the Lord” (Hel. 14:16). In the scriptures this separation is called spiritual death (see Hel. 14:16; D&C 29:41).

The atonement of our Savior overcame this spiritual death. The scriptures say, “The Son of God hath atoned for original guilt” (Moses 6:54). As Paul taught the Saints in Rome: “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life” (Rom. 5:18). As a result of this atonement, “men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression” (A of F 1:2).

Our Savior has redeemed us from the sin of Adam, but what about the effects of our own sins? Since “all have sinned” (Rom. 3:23), we are all spiritually dead. Again, our only hope for life is our Savior, who, the prophet Lehi taught, “offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law” (2 Ne. 2:7).

In order to lay claim upon our Savior’s life-giving triumph over the spiritual death we suffer because of our own sins, we must follow the conditions he has prescribed. As he has told us in modern revelation, “I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;

“But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I” (D&C 19:16–17).

Our third article of faith describes the Savior’s conditions in these words: “We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.”

In the words of our Savior, recorded in the Book of Mormon as he taught the people on this continent, “And whosoever will hearken unto my words and repenteth and is baptized, the same shall be saved” (3 Ne. 23:5).

In summary, the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior and our Redeemer, is the life of the world because his resurrection and his atonement save us from both physical and spiritual death. Jacob rejoiced in this gift of life: “O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit” (2 Ne. 9:10).

I wish that everyone could understand our belief and hear our testimony that Jesus Christ, our Savior and our Redeemer, is the light and life of the world.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

“‘The Light and Life of the World’,” Ensign, Nov 1987, 63

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